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Category: Financial / Topics: Cost of Living Financial Government Lifestyle, General Retirement Social Security

Social Security

by Dan Seagren

Posted: February 11, 2018

It's hard to imagine life without it…

This arrived unsolicited. Look it over as it is interesting even though I can't vouch for it.

Of all adults receiving monthly Social Security benefits, 45% were men and 55% were women. Eighty-one percent of the men and 66% of the women received retired-worker benefits. And the stats that really stand out are these:

13% of the women received survivor benefits while less than 1% of men received benefits as survivors (widowers or fathers) or as spouses of retired and disabled workers.

Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 23% of married couples and about 43% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income. The average benefit for survivors: $1,301 per month or $15,612 per year. One more: 62 million Americans received about $955 billion in Social Security benefits in 2017.

No doubt Social Security is beneficial, more so for the less endowed than the wealthy. Makes me wonder, though, how my parents and grandparents survived before it existed.

My own father was so disciplined that he immediately took out of his modest paycheck 10% for charity and 10% into investments. When I worked during high school days and had put $500 into a savings account, he showed me how to put it into stocks and bonds where it rose to $700 later when I needed it for college. Subsequently, I went on on my own for nine years of higher education, graduating with no debt (a little help at first from the GI Bill). My son also earned his Master's Degree debt free on his own. Monkey see, monkey do.

Social Security as a supplement rather than a necessity is becoming more common. The program has been expanded considerably over the years, including some classes of people who have not paid into the system, and it has trouble keeping up with inflation. It does have a cut-off point so the wealthy do benefit, but within limits.

When Social Security was instituted, it was based on recipients having a much shorter life expectancy, with a greater potential for survival and less for supplemental income as today. In an era of extensive debt and little or no savings for many, Social Secutity becomes even more important as the primary source of income, but this raises questions on how far the safety net should be stretched. .

Today is is difficult to imagine life without Social Security. It is perhaps a bit troublesome to appreciate the program for what it has become, much less giving credit for those who invented it in the first place. Long live Social Security. OK

Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: February 11, 2018   Accessed 332 times

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