Planning your future with or without Medicare and Social Security

Sue Daugherty
Mar 23, 2010

I spent Memorial Day Weekend in Washington, DC. It’s a place where current events and national politics feel more real than when I’m living life in Sandusky.

In Monday’s (5/25/09) Washington Post there was an editorial written by Robert Samuelson about his frustration over the inaction our federal government has taken with the recently updated, longtime looming Medicare and Social Security bankruptcy.  

He made a good point that is worth repeating, “Congress and the president (regardless of the party in power) will deal with this political stink bomb of an aging society only when forced.”

That got me to thinking about my response to this news. You see in my field of work -- geriatric social service --  you know there is no evidence that suggests Medicare and Social Security are guaranteed. In fact, I see Social Security raising the age to be eligible for a retirement check and Medicare is frequently changing what it covers and what it doesn’t.

Like the U.S. government, my sense of urgency to take the fact that Social Security won’t be there for me when I retire didn’t really hit me in my 20’s or my 30’s.  Only now, at middle age, have I truly made serious efforts to deal with my personal “stink bomb” of being an older person without 80/20 percent Medicare coverage and very little social security retirement to count on. Because of my work in the aging field my understanding and my motivation to be as prepared as possible for later life has been heightened.

So let me share with you some scary truths about Medicare and Social Security that Robert Samuelson shared in his editorial that might heighten your understanding and motivation to prepare now for your later life:

·         In 1940 life expectancy at birth was 61.4 for men and 65.7 for women.

·         Over the next 75 years the cost for Medicare and Social Security will be 103.2 trillion.

·         The revenue to fund Medicare and Social Security via taxes and premiums will generate 57.4 trillion.

·         The Medicare Trust Fund will be exhausted by 2017.

·         The Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted by 2037.