Three months ago, I blogged about a proposal from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, to get rid of the option to take Social Security at age 62. Holy cow, the people who thought this was a lousy retirement planning proposal have continued to fill my e-mail inbox with their thoughts.
This note, from a woman who begged to be anonymous, seems to reflect the majority opinion about retirement timing most eloquently:
"I totally disagree with your premise to raise the age of full retirement benefits. I am currently 60 years old. I do not have a retirement account and have a meager pension to collect when I retire. I cannot wait to retire! I am tired, sick and need to step away from the enormous stress of my job. I cannot accomplish this until I am 63 and am terrified that reckless ideas as yours will be enacted.
I cannot work until 66. That is not an option, but I am not sick enough to qualify for disability. I have worked full time -- two and three jobs at a time -- since I was 15 years old. They have collected Social Security from every one of those paychecks, an amount I doubt I will ever fully collect.
You might wonder why I am not better prepared for my retirement. I was a single mother, I raised a wonderful son, kept a roof over our heads and never, ever relied on public assistance. There were too many weeks we had to decide if we would buy groceries or pay bills. (I am sure you have no concept of this lifestyle). I don't regret those years, just wish there had been other options.
Bottom line -- leave Social Security alone. I earned it. I need it."
Does anyone see this issue differently?