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Save Social Security — get a job

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Posted: 6 am ET

Social Security has a big retirement planning problem. It isn't bringing in enough tax dollars to pay benefits to the millions of baby boomers who will be retiring shortly.

Warren Sanderson, an economics professor at Stony Brook University and co-author of recent research on stabilizing retirement systems worldwide, sees keeping baby boomers on the job as key to fixing Social Security's problems. He says that the longer baby boomers stay in the labor force, the more money they continue to pay into the Social Security system, helping to finance their own retirements and the retirements of others.

Sanderson thinks that unless something is done to shore up the Social Security system pretty soon, the only really viable solution will be to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 or 71. Currently, full retirement age is 66 and it's already slated to go to 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Sanderson believes that moving the age even higher won't be necessary if we could keep more people working. "People don't realize how high the Social Security claiming ages are going to have to go if we are going to continue supporting retired people," he says.  "But if we get rid of disincentives for older people who want to work and kept more of them working, it could save us from having to raise the Social Security retirement age by a year or two."

In particular, Sanderson would:

  • Pass and enforce strong anti-age discrimination laws.
  • Change the rules for those between the ages of 62 and 66 so that they can earn as much money as they want while still collecting Social Security. The amount of money people collect during those years is already reduced to reflect the fact that they'll be collecting longer. Sanderson says, "It is a silly policy that encourages people to take Social Security and not work when they should be working."
  • Reform tax policy so the lower earner in a couple -- often the wife -- isn't deterred from working because her income for tax-calculation purposes is added to her husband's income. "It is a distortion that discourages older women from working," Sanderson says.
  • Carefully manage Social Security disability so people who could work are encouraged to do so.

What Sanderson suggests sounds good to me. How do you feel about it?

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6 Comments
Henry J
April 24, 2014 at 5:08 pm

I worked when I felt like it and I worked when I did not feel like it. I believe every individual should work to enjoy the fruits of their labor as I did. PS by the way I receive my Social security and am still paying SS Taxes please allow me to enjoy my money, also I still pay taxes so that the poor may enjoy some of the benefits of this great society and wonderful country.

Love, Henry J

Ruth
March 13, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Politicians should keep their hands out of the Social Security Fund pot. Having less ageism for hiring would be good to. These people have worked a long time for a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Also there needs to be more of a middle step to help people off of Welfare. A single mother may want a better life for herself and her children but if she goes off welfare she can end up losing medical coverage for her family and not making much more money. Where is the incentive? There needs to be a bridge for a certain length of time until she can earn more and have medical coverage.

Joel
March 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Um, the problem with Social Security is Washington cronies treating the fund like a free-for-all using it to buy entitlement votes with pet projects. Were they to stop doing this the system would be completely solvent. Our politicians don't look at borrowing money from this trust as borrowing from retirees - they see it as "their" money.

Stop telling older folks that have dutifully paid their Social Security taxes for decades that the solution is: "Keep working/paying". The real solution is EJECT THE BUMS OUT OF CONGRESS.

lester
March 10, 2014 at 3:07 am

I belive they should take social security taxes out of those who are on unemployment and those who are on welfare that should't be should be force to get a job or cut there welfare and also those on umemployment the same if you do that they either starve or find a job theres plenty of work out there

Patricia Scott
March 09, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I retired last year at the age of 76. Is that O.K. with you?

Damien
March 09, 2014 at 6:21 am

START TAKING YOUR MONEY OUT OF SOCIAL SECURITY WHEN YOU REACH 62 YEARS OF AGE!!! AND...GO NO FURTHER! IF YOU ARE SMART...DO THIS!!

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