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Could you do it?

posted 5/18/2013 9:48:53 AM |
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As has repeatedly been pointed out by the troll-who-has-many-names, the AMD blogs are frequented by a somewhat older crowd. That would include me. Unless I expect to live well past age 100, I left middle age behind a while back. Realistically, I have 10 to 12 years of working life ahead of me at most.

That leads me to think about retirement a lot. And like most people, that includes thinking about Social Security. And while we often discuss how to make Social Security sustainable, I don't often hear frank discussions of how all of us might be affected if there was no Social Security.

Our parents faced a very different situation. Many of them were able to work for the same employer for most of life. Most of those employers offered pensions. If you put in the time, you got a monthly check when you retired, in addition to Social Security. They lived in a time where home prices went up steadily for decades. When they sold their home and downsized to a smaller home, they made money. In some markets they made a tremendous amount of money. In other words, even without doing a lot of saving, they had sufficient funds with which to retire.

That's all changed. Few of us can work for one employer our entire careers. Fewer and fewer employers offer pensions. Most have replaced those with 401K savings plans. House values in most parts of the country plummeted between 2006 and 2010.

All this points to a more difficult environment in which to retire. What I find is that people under 55 speak rhetorically when they discuss the future of Social Security. When you cross that line, you realize it's not just a political discussion.

I have no pension provided by any of the employers I had (in each case, pensions were terminated by the employers at some point, which the law allows them to do). I won't inherit any money. My house lost about $20,000 in value in the last six years, although I do still have a fair amount of equity. I've been able to put money into my 401K (which has done well since 2009), and if I can keep working for 10 more years, that combined with Social Security will be sufficient to retire comfortably. Without Social Security, I would have to live frugally, but I could probably get by. And I think I'm among the lucky ones.

Most people are hard-pressed to save enough money to retire without social security. A lot of jobs just don't pay enough. And while people live longer, they really don't stay healthy enough to work for much longer than in the past. There are many jobs that a person age 65 or over just can't do.

So what about you? Could you retire without Social Security?

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May 18 @ 11:29AM  
I started my 401k about 10 years ago, for a long time I chose the low end percentage out of my paycheck, a couple of years ago, I upped it to 5% of my paycheck and that little bit has made a difference. Next time work has an open meeting with the company the 401k is through, I'm going to sit with an adviser and talk about ways to increase it more. Also, my savings account at my credit union, I try to add a few bucks out of each pay check to build it up. I just started doing so shortly after joining this credit union last year, so it's still on the small side. I'm not going to totally rely on SS, even though the newsletter SS sends out annually giving estimated payments if I were to retire now would just let me squeak by, I don't place a lot of confidence in it either being the amount estimated or it even being around. So, I try to add extra to the 401k when I can, and I add a little bit to my savings account when I can.

I may like to make flip remarks on occasion about government and all, but I do have my eyes wide open when it comes to all of this.

May 18 @ 6:35PM  
So what about you? Could you retire without Social Security?

I lost my job in 2009 because of my health. Long story there I won't go into, Disability is taking forever so basically I have been living the past four years with no retirement or social security, I am fortunate that I am able to sell enough paintings and design enough wedding items to make ends meet so far, But if the bottom falls out of the market for those items I would be SOL and then looking for what I can do next. I will probably work at something for as long as I am physically and/or mentally able. I don't think I ever had plans to retire and just take it easy, Probably a good thing too the way things are going, It all a matter of deciding which is a necessity and what is a nice to have and just go for the things you need to survive without letting it get to you, So the answer is yes people can survive without that help but life is going to be rough at times,

May 18 @ 7:33PM  
I will work until I die. And that's about that.. unless I get a portion of the powerball tonight..

May 18 @ 7:46PM  
When I was young and, like most of my friends, had little money, my friends and I would rent a big place and pool resources. It has occured to me that in retirement that will be an option again, particularly for single people.

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Could you do it?