BOSTON (CBS) – The reality is Social Security was designed to replace only about 40% of your current paycheck and less if you are a high wage earner. Many experts think that number will drop to about 30% by 2030 adjusting for higher Medicare premiums, taxation of benefits, and increasing retirement age.
Currently for 26% of retirees Social Security is their only source of income. But it was never meant to be your only source of income in retirement. The average monthly benefit for a current retiree is $1,300. It is very difficult to survive on that in Massachusetts.
The maximum benefit for someone who has reached their full benefit age, which is 66 for this year, is $2,533, that’s $31,700 a year. To get the maximum benefit you would have had to earn the maximum Social Security wage for at least 35 of your working years. That amount for this year is $117,000.
Social Security benefits are indexed for inflation but there were 2 years, 2010 & 2011, where there was no increase in benefits because inflation was so low. But the cost of basic things like medical care, gas, and groceries somehow went up even with low inflation.
And before you even get your Social Security benefit check Uncle Sam will deduct your share of Medicare payments for part B and part D that you need to make each month. Oops, I forgot to mention that you may owe taxes on your Social Security benefits as well.
Now I do think Social Security will be around for the Boomers, not so sure though about what will be left for our grandkids. We may be screwing them royally right now with this huge deficit we are creating which is $17.5 trillion and is increasing every day.
The Social Security Administration has enough dollars in their trust fund to last until 2031. After that they will have about 75% of what they will need to pay benefits.
One more thing: Something needs to be done to fix the system.
Congress needs to act but no one wants to be the bad guy here. It probably will take increasing FICA taxes, increasing the age to collect full benefits and making benefits fully taxable for Social Security to survive for our grandkids.
Calculate what your fixed expenses will be in retirement and what sources of income you may have. Social Security is one source of income and you should look to have at least two more income streams. Maybe a pension and your retirement plan from work. Treat Social Security benefits as a bonus.