Hot Topics: Social Security Roulette
Social Security was in the news again this week with the publication of a report suggesting that the government retirement and disability program will run out of funds to pay beneficiaries in 2033 -- three years earlier than expected.
The gloomy report came after trustees for the federal program downgraded certain assumptions about how the U.S. economy will perform in the future, which led them to make a 3.6 percent cost of living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries this year. That, coupled with the influx of retiring boomers, means the fund is paying out benefits at a faster-than-anticipated rate.
Social Security administrators and others, however, downplayed the report's significance, noting that the program is in no immediate danger of defaulting on its ability to pay current beneficiaries. Mark Miller explains in this Reuters column why the accelerated drawdown of Social Security funds might not be as bad as it seems.
Though Social Security's short-term health is stable, the future of federal entitlement programs is expected to be a central point of debate through the 2012 election season. Potential changes that could reduce Social Security costs include raising the retirement age to 67, reducing annual benefits, raising the amount of annual wages subject to Social Security taxes, and limiting payouts to people over certain income levels, according to this Associated Press story. Congress isn't expected to take any action on the matter until after the November election.
An Older Edge on Entrepreneurship: With age comes wisdom, and that means people who have spent many years in the corporate world have what it takes to to start their own business, writes Civic Ventures CEO Marc Freedman on the Harvard Business Review blog. Older entrepreneurs share many traits with so-called experimental geniuses, late bloomers who "need a long period of time to reach their peak, moving forward by trial and error, slowly accumulating the elements that will be integrated into their fully realized work," Freedman says. Some of those late-blooming entrepreneurs share their experiences in comments on his post.
Funding a Five-Year Travel Adventure: Warren and Betsy Talbot thought if they worked at it, they could save enough in two years to quit working and travel around the world for 12 months. When the couple reached the savings goal in half the time, the Talbots upped the ante and stockpiled enough to finance a five-year adventure, Betsy Talbort explains in this post on LearnVest.com. After calculating how much they needed to live on while traveling -- $100 a day -- they got creative about saving. Talbot even threw herself a "reverse birthday party" where friends bought items from her closet to add to her trip fund. Since starting their adventure, the Talbots have spent two weeks in Antarctica, summered in Europe and wintered in Thailand. Along the way, they've done volunteer work for charities and travel companies, housesat, learned a little Spanish and Thai, "and made friends all over the world," she writes. They've also published an e-book about their saving strategy, Dream Save Do: A No Nonsense Step-by-Step Blueprint for Amassing the Cash You Need to Live Your Dream.
Reinvention at 50? If you can hire a professional to redo your house or investment portfolio, why not hire a pro to reinvent yourself? The Toronto Star paired 10 people age 50 and older with experts to help them make over some aspect of their life. Leanne Cross, 56, wants to be more organized, and in the process, de-clutter her house. Rob Johnston, 50, wants to find something that will help him lead a more purposeful, healthier life. Pam Breese, 57, wants a relationship. Watch the first installment of the paper's "Turning Point" feature, and see videos of other people who'll appear in the 10-week series, which runs through June.
Just Finishing Is Enough: Margie Whitnah, editor of the Pelican Network, finished in last place in the 2011 Big Sur International Marathon and is darn proud of it. So proud, in fact, that Whitnah wants to defend her last-place finish this Sunday in the 2012 marathon. "I would love to finish last again," she tells the Salinas Californian.
So You Think You Can Sing: Steven Tyler might be the oldest guy on American Idol, but at 64, he'd fit right in at the PA State Senior Idol competition, a Pennsylvania talent show open to anyone over 50. Contestants get a private, three-and-a-half minute audition, and 15 semifinalists will perform in front of an audience on June 4 in Lancaster. The winner gets a limo ride to New York City for dinner and a show.
Last Word: "When you love what you do and you're good at it, why would you quit?" -- Mitch Anthony, author of The New Retirementality, in this SecondAct post
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