There has been some talk about raising the Social Security retirement age. The government says that unless Congress steps in, our benefits are on track to be reduced by the year 2035. Something has to be done, and some think it may be best to raise the age of retirement even higher.
Full retirement is the age you can receive 100 percent of your retirement benefits. It used to be 65. That all changed in 1983 when President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that gradually pushed the full retirement age up to 67, depending on the year you were born. At age 62 you are first eligible to begin collecting retirement benefits every month. But be careful, as by claiming early, you do get reduced checks for life.
It is a serious decision to make, and it will affect many Americans — but it might be unavoidable. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recently put forward a proposal to raise the Social Security retirement age to 69 by 2075.
In the last decade, the number of Americans aged 65 and older has increased by over 12 million people. This makes up about 16 percent of the total U.S. population. Americans are living longer. They are also working longer than they used to. Retirement is being put off by more than double the number of senior citizens who were working in 1985.
For some, it might be fine to wait a few more years to retire, but it could possibly put individuals who are already on shaky financial ground at risk. If they can’t work anymore and they need financial assistance, it might mean they either get a lesser amount than they were expecting every month after the age of 62 — or nothing for a few more years at least.
If the age is raised, it could have a knock-on effect as well. Retirement is not an easy prospect to face, and when the goal line has suddenly shifted, it may affect people negatively. The idea of not being able to support oneself when you reach your mid-60s is not a pleasant thought. At the very least, you'd want the safety net of Social Security. However, if the government cannot afford to pay the benefits they will need to pay out, in the future what will we as a country do?
It seems raising the age of full retirement is not just a possibility, it's pretty much a “when” rather than an “if.”
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