Forget 65, many business and political leaders are suggesting that Americans work until they reach their 70s.
Take the richest man in the world. Carlos Slim recently suggested that the world’s economic troubles could be solved in part by lifting the retirement age to 70. Of course that’s easy for him to say. He’s sitting on an estimated net worth of $65 billion.
But in Congress serious consideration is being given to doing just that. A Congressional deficit-reduction commission called for increasing the retirement age to 69, while some policy analysts suggest raising the retirement age to 70 or higher.
“Raising the Social Security retirement age has become as close to a consensus position as exists in American politics,” suggests Washington Post writer Erza Klein
Part of the reasoning revolves around the fact that Americans are living longer and spending more years in retirement than ever before. But much of the increase in life span is being enjoyed by the wealthy. Rich Americans are living five years longer than their poorer countrymen, meaning poorer Americans would gain less benefit from Social Security if the the retirement age was increased.
And those in physically demanding jobs would have an extremely difficult time continuing to work past 65. It’s one thing to work past 65 if you’re sitting in an air-conditioned office, it’s quite another if you’re standing on a hot assembly line.
But proponents of raising the retirement age argue that we simply can’t afford not to. With the national debt approaching $16 trillion, sacrifices have to be made.
Hogwash claims many experts. In fact, Social Security is entirely self-funded. As the Center for Economic and Policy Research points out, Social Security is financed by a 12.4% payroll tax that workers pay on their first $107,000 of income every year.
And lawmakers like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont argue that we can continue to make Social Security self-sufficient for a hundred years or more.
“Although Social Security will be strong for more than a quarter-century, Congress should strengthen it for the longer term. That is why I agree with the president, who has called for raising the cap on taxable income. Today, that cap is at $106,800; no matter how much money you make, Social Security taxes are only deducted on the first $106,800. But by removing the cap on incomes of $250,000 or more, we can make Social Security fully solvent for generations to come,” explains Sanders.
Yet, despite all the evidence against raising the retirement age, the possibility of having to work until you’re 69 or 70 could soon become a reality.
BMWK, Do you think the retirement age should be raised?