For Mark Roberts’ Use: Throughout your career, contributions to the Social Security fund have been deducted from your paychecks. You expect those benefits to be available to you when you need them someday, and you may even be depending upon Social Security as a significant part of your future retirement income.
It’s important to keep in mind that the Social Security system is currently experiencing some strain, and this problem is expected to grow in the future. Better heath care and nutrition have led to increasing life spans, and therefore more older Americans are drawing benefits. At the same time, the massive Baby Boom generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) have begun to retire, or will soon be retiring. As this generation begins to claim their Social Security benefits, the system will face even greater strain.
In the early days of the program (1945), there were 41.9 workers paying taxes and supporting each person drawing Social Security benefits. Last year (2013) there were only 2.8 workers for each person drawing benefits. By 2033, that number is expected to shrink to 2.1 workers per Social Security pensioner.
In response to the shrinking number of taxpayers per pensioner, Social Security has adjusted the age at which you can collect full retirement benefits. This age has been gradually adjusted, based on year of birth, from 65 up to age 67 for those retiring in 2027. This means Americans will have to wait longer to claim their Social Security benefits, while possibly receiving a smaller monthly check than they had previously anticipated.
For current workers, these facts underscore the importance of sound financial planning for retirement. While it is likely that policy makers will continue to evolve new solutions for the Social Security budget crisis, we should all remember that Social Security benefits will not be sufficient to entirely fund retirement in the vast majority of cases. If you haven’t already begun to plan for your retirement, talk to a financial advisor soon, and begin to formulate a plan to adequately support your financial needs in the future.