Your Life Expectancy and Your Social Security

by Dr. Gary Welton

Your Life Expectancy and Your Social Security
Your Life Expectancy and Your Social Security
The Center For Vision & Values
The Center For Vision & Values

Grove City, PA -(AmmoLand.com)- According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy in the United States is the longest ever, approaching 79 years.

This was highlighted in the recent Time cover story, “This Baby Could Live to Be 142 Years Old.” With very few exceptions—such as the flu pandemic of 1918, which caused the life expectancy to temporarily plummet by a dozen years—our life expectancy has continued with a positive trend line throughout our nation’s history.

During my lifetime, life expectancy has increased from 70 to almost 79. In 1960, when life expectancy was 70, full retirement age for Social Security was 65. Therefore, on average, it was necessary for Social Security benefits to be able to fund five years of retirement. Now, as life expectancy approaches 79, full retirement age has increased to 67. Hence, on average, it will now be necessary for Social Security benefits to fund 12 years of retirement.

Social Security has been labeled the “third rail of American politics.” This label, going back to (at least) the Reagan era, predicts that politicians who are so bold as to propose changes in these benefits are committing political suicide. The increase in retirement age (that continues to grow from age 65 to age 67) was enacted in 1983 and signed into law by President Reagan. His landslide reelection in the following year suggests that changes to Social Security might not be as suicidal as the phrase suggests.

When I talk with college students and emerging adults, they often suggest that they do not expect to realize any Social Security benefits. They expect the system to implode long before they retire. This is unacceptable. It would be extremely selfish of our generation to bankrupt this system without finding some long-term solution.

Apart from the Social Security angle, the reality is that over the last decade, pension and retirement benefits have collapsed or have been drastically cut for many Americans. Those who carefully planned and managed their expected retirement position often had to make life-changing adjustments in order to regain that position. According to recent reports, however, many Americans have simply ceased to plan and save for retirement.

It is unreasonable to expect our youth to fund 12 years of retirement. It is time to revisit this issue and undergo serious bipartisan work to make it better.

The longer life expectancy must be considered as we plan for the future stability of retirement benefits—the future financial stability of our children and grandchildren.

About the Author:

Dr. Gary L. Welton is assistant dean for institutional assessment, professor of psychology at Grove City College, and a contributor to The Center for Vision & Values. He is a recipient of a major research grant from the Templeton Foundation to investigate positive youth development.

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Greg
Greg
6 years ago

There are some parts of article that I agree with, and some not. As already mentioned, congress has taken money from the SS system over the years, and probably with no intention of putting it back. Of course, if ask today, they would say they intended to return the money. However, they did not. I hate the word entitled, so I will not use it. All people who lived life , worked, and payed into the SS system, deserve to be paid from the SS system after retirement. All congress members over the last seventy years are to blame for… Read more »

karl
karl
6 years ago

What about the surplus that has been stolen over the years and IOU’s replacing it . Congress, who took it ,needs to put it back including interest that has been lost. Also stop giving to those that did not earn it. I think this would more than cure the problem (shortfall).

Idadho
Idadho
6 years ago

We can ‘reduce’ the funding problem if we means test those who apply. It is needed for many who worked in occupations with minimal pension funding mechanisms. But, there are many drawing full benefits who tour the country in $300,000 motorhomes towing a Lexus then return to their nice primary residences off season. Their fully funded private pensions plus massive savings make it so they would hardly even miss the SS payments.

KDB
KDB
6 years ago

Also have Congress put all the surplus that has been stolen over the years and pay interest on it !

SuperG
SuperG
6 years ago

Our government is going the wrong direction too. If it was truly “for the people”, they would be looking to lower the retirement age, not raise it. Chronic over-achievers who want to die at their desks are in charge, and they have no problem taking the rest of us with them. But before they go though, they want to buy real expensive toys to kill people with, and that money must come from somewhere.

Walt
Walt
6 years ago

Give me back the money I was forced to donate (at, say, 5% interest) and I’d happily get out of SS. Took my money, promised I would get it back, now it is an “entitlement” and I’m bad for taking it. BS. SS should be disbanded.

Al Schmidt
Al Schmidt
6 years ago
Reply to  Walt

Why will Social Security go broke when we paid into it all of our working life and illegal aliens get free health care, food stamps, & free housing when they never paid a penny into the US treasury. It is time to get rid of the Liberals in the U.S. They are trying to bankrupt us so that they can form a tyrannical government like Cuba!