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The promise of Social Security and Generation X

Social Security and Generation X

Social Security and Generation X

While one group prepares to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Social Security with a collection of stories about how the insurance program has impacted society for the good, another group is releasing a study that shows dramatically high percentages of Americans including those in the upper tier of income earners, are likely to run short of money 10 to 20 years into retirement.

The Employee Benefits Research Institute, a Washington group that studies retirement, savings and health programs, has provided a copy of the issue brief on their website, although publication of their news release might be a quicker path to understanding this data.

Meanwhile, you can join in the celebration of Social Security’s diamond anniversary. The folks sponsoring this initiative call the insurance program “a promise to all generations of Americans,” although some question whether or not the promise has been broken.

I certainly have my concerns about running out of money in retirement. Based on my last Social Security statement, my promise has been reduced by 23 percent. I’m not complaining, however; I’m a fan of Social Security. These days, if someone keeps more than 75 percent of their promise to me, especially post start of the September 29, 2008, I’m a happy girl.

By the way, that was the start of the Great Recession, which hit Xers harder than it hit any other generation. On that day, stocks wre crushed and $1.2 trillion in market value was gone. Not since World War II, has the world changed so much in such a short period of time.

Nevertheless, all this begs a question: What exactly is the promise of Social Security and Generation X?

Even paying out a dollar on every dollar isn’t a promise that Social Security earnings will keep up with inflation or prolong and support a certain standard of living.

Photo Credit: Kameleon via istockphoto with purchase

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. me

    Me, by the way, is jen. I had to change it b/c I’m working on a site for someone else and it was publishing my name at the bottom of all their posts. This is not my attempt at vain anonymity. Hahaha!

  2. me

    @FR SEAN – I feel the weight of 40 years of self individualized to a fault. And, I can’t believe the direction things are going with this election season. As if Obama could fix all of Bush’s ills in two years…he inherited this nightmare, he didn’t create it. The person who gets left with the mess is responsible for having made it I guess. *brilliant analysis*

    @FRIAR This is the most depressing thing I’ve read in regard to Social Security ever. I had not heard that 100 percent figure. Grim. One thing is for sure the Silent Generation isn’t worried about any of this stuff. They’re too busy rallying for the very policies that threaten to victimize them. Awesome propaganda.

    @JOHN FRANKS IV – Do you honestly think that 8 years of Bush’s policies didn’t have SOMETHING to do with the fact the economy completely tanked three months before he left office. Single worst president in my lifetime. No, I take that back – Reagan was the worst. We’d have fun chatting over coffee, John!! It is the job of Government to protect the most vulnerable among us and the most faces of the most vulnerable change day in and day out. I’m fine with it. I’ve never needed the government’s help, oh, except regulating the air I breathe and the medicine I take and the roads on which I drive and the skies in which I fly and the water I drink. The government isn’t responsible for me at all. 😉

  3. junkdrawer67

    I’m with FrSean. I hate this topic too. Mostly because I just don’t believe that SS is going to be there for Generation X. And if it is it will be inadequate. That leads to some pretty grim thoughts about my old age. I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but it’s hard not to be.

    Of course, now I’m doing all I can to insure that I have some kind of savings for retirement but I doubt that will be enough either.

    I expect to not only work past retirement age but likely until I die or I’m just incapable of working, whichever comes first.

    You could get rid of SS and younger generations could begin to saves for retirement on their own but that wouldn’t help GenXers, and you’d still have to deal with the problem of a lot of old poor. And what do you do about that?

  4. Friar

    According to the president’s debt and deficit commission, three programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — take up one hundred percent of all federal revenue at current levels, let alone what will happen as more and more Boomers and Xers retire and then live three decades or more. The Washington Post story on this situation can be found here:

    If we never buy another bullet and never suit up another soldier our deficit will remain and will increase. Unless we reform the entitlement programs — raise retirement ages, means-test benefits so the wealthy elderly help support the less-wealthy elderly or other serious changes — they will in fact go bankrupt and will be able to help no one.


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