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Featured A sobering letter from the Social Security Administration

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by Edward764, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. Edward764

    Edward764 Well-Known Member

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    A couple days ago I got an updated letter from the SSA.
    It says that if I retire at age 66 and one-half, which is just under five years away, my retirement benefit will be a paltry $1033 per month. I got my first job in 1976, and have only earned over $20,000 per year 17 times. My highest yearly wage ever was just over $26,000.

    There is very little doubt in my mind that I would have been better off today had I been a high school dropout, but I have actually spent 11 years and four months ( not consecutively), in post high school education, including a bachelors degree and two certificates. These are bizarre facts that I will cover in detail in my book.

    I can't help but wondering if this is unprecedented. Is there any other member of the 142 million people in the labor force who has this much education, has been eligible to work for almost 46 years, yet has earned so little?
    I would think these strange facts alone would garner interest for my detailed writings.

    This is a consequence of never overcoming hundreds of distractions surrounding academia, and thus never truly learning much or developing confidence in any discipline.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  2. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    I have no retirement. Perspectives my man. Perspectives.
     
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  3. tlc

    tlc The Mackinac Bridge and U.P. is my happy place.

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    My goal is to pay off my house before I retire. I figure with no house payment, kid payments, work expenses, etc. I could do comfortably with my target social security earnings. That is if it is even there by the time my retirement comes. 25 years from now perhaps? I've been working and paying in for 25 years so I'm halfway there.
     
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  4. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Just Enjoying Survival V.I.P Member

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    i get under $300 a month, and happy to get it!
     
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  5. Edward764

    Edward764 Well-Known Member

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    There are unfortunately many people without retirement. Hopefully you have some savings, or supportive family or friends to help you out. This is how I survive.

    Most people who have spent over 11 years in higher education are making high enough wages that they have significant retirement, unless they have spent everything without forethought.
    Very few, regardless of education, are the prime financial breadwinners with so little income accumulated after decades of work eligibility.
     
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  6. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Just Enjoying Survival V.I.P Member

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    Social Security benefits have nothing to do with your education. It is based on income and number of quarters worked.
     
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  7. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm not quite as bad as you, but not far off. I'm getting $1117 per month. This is with a science degree in geology an 30 years of doing exploration work. The only jobs I could get were with companies on the edge of bankruptcy and couldn't afford to pay much and low paying jobs outside my field. I spent a lot of time unemployed. I took retirement at 63 because I could not find work. To be fair, I suspect the reason I could not find work toward the end was age discrimination rather than autism. I applied for jobs with requirements that read like my resume, and never got an interview or response. Instead of going to college, I probably would have been better off moving to Detroit and becoming an autoworker. At least the pay would have been considerably higher and a much better retirement.
     
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  8. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think the original poster made that clear. He was lamenting the fact that despite being highly educated, he was unable to earn an income commensurate the his education.
     
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  9. Edward764

    Edward764 Well-Known Member

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    Not directly, but the two are strongly correlated. Most people with over 11 years of higher education, have probably accumulated millions of dollars by the time they are 61 years old.
    To have never exceeded $26,000 a year with all this education is indicative of my unnatural existence
     
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  10. Edward764

    Edward764 Well-Known Member

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    One thing you do have going for you is a very high IQ. I suspect that with a degree in the hard sciences, you are at least at 115-120.
    Depending on your age and health, would you be able to do some online work from home for extra income that would require someone with your mathematical and scientific skills, maybe even math or science tutoring for students?
     
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  11. tlc

    tlc The Mackinac Bridge and U.P. is my happy place.

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    It has to do with where you live too. Up here there's a saying "half the pay for a view of the bay" and it is an accurate statement. I could easily make twice as much in Detroit doing the same thing (engineering) but would never want to live there. So I can't complain.

    I estimate my gross pay over all these years is about $725000, so less than a million dollars total so far. Between taxes and expenses there's not much left for me.
     
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  12. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I've never heard higher education correlated with any unusually large amount of money like this before.
    I've always imagined academics as making a modest salary.

    But either way, a bachelor's and two certificates isn't all that much. The way you describe the correlation, I would expect a minimum of one PhD. A person with just a Bachelor's and two certificates earning a small amount or unable to find work is not unprecedented, it's common.

    I've heard some say that a Bachelor's is becoming more like the new high-school diploma. It's the minimum and is what's expected.
     
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  13. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I would be delighted if I had $20,00 or more a year, and $1013 a month pension. I can only ever dream of earning that much. But there again, I don't have such high living expenses as a person in the USA.
     
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  14. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    I get $800 per month on Social Security Disability.
    The big problem with that, now that I am old enough to be thinking about it is how am I going to live on that amount as I am getting older and alone with no savings.

    Medicaid only helps pay for nursing homes and they are very bad from what I've seen.
    There is no help to pay for assisted living that averages $5,000 per month.
    I can't even find a group home situation that will take under $1,000 per month for rent.

    Low income SSD such as myself, I have not found how they think we can live or how we are supposed to.
     
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  15. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    Thats why im trying to get good at writing. It's something you can do no matter the age.
     
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  16. NothingToSeeHere

    NothingToSeeHere Asexuowl V.I.P Member

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    You're right. Academics get very modest pay considering the high stress nature of the job and the high education requirements. There's a lot of amusement (and bitterness) in academic circles at the moment due to the recently proposed £36k minimum salary threshold for UK immigrants alongside the governments promises to encourage scientists to work in the UK. That wage is far over what all but the most senior academics earn. These are people with PhDs.

    OP I think you might be overestimating how much most people are paid... A mere Bachelors degree won't get you very far these days, it's the standard for all but minimum wage jobs. Even a Masters doesn't get you very far.
     
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  17. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    For me, my [ASD1] has been a glass ceiling in a Buyer's-Market economy, even for a long time during a Seller's-Market economy. It was impervious to even top marks in school and a patent. :(
     
  18. AloneNotLonely

    AloneNotLonely Well-Known Member

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    Soooo...

    You got a Bachelors in what? That's kind of an important detail. A Bachelors in sexing parrots isn't going to make you much, but a Bachelors in computer programming is going to bring in quite a bit of money. $1033 doesn't sound that bad, I spend the equivalent of $1100 a month and here everything is like 20% more expensive. Government retirement programs are scams anyway, if they knew how to invest they wouldn't need to collect taxes.
     
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  19. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    This letter from the Social Security Administration should not have come as a great shock. They are supposed to inform you yearly of what your expected retirement income will be. Also, those who are financially literate have known for years that they need to be setting aside money in an IRA or 401(k) to increase their retirement assets.

    I agree that it's unfortunate that people with autism are often underemployed. It's a real situation and discriminatory.

    There are strategies for cheaper living in a cash-poor economy. Medicare will become your primary health insurance, even if it wasn't before. (Does not kick in until 62, though, unless you can assert a disability to their satisfaction.) There are many, many places where you get a low rent in 55-plus housing, based on 1/3 of your monthly income. (Many more than for younger, employed people.) You may get public assistance in the form of "food stamps" or what used to be called food stamps. My veterinarian gives a 10% discount for seniors.

    When my husband dies (if he goes first) I will be squawking "poverty" because I will no longer collect anything on his pensions or social security, and will need to take in a roommate to offset my costs in owning a condo. Even at that I might not be able to afford to live here. Time for low-cost senior housing, then, I guess.
     
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  20. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I talk to people all the time about how they fear old age and wonder how they will be able to afford to live. It is a big political issue so keep that in mind when you vote for politicians. My 63 year old younger brother is just now realizing that he and his wife have not saved enough money to live the lifestyle they want and are used to, and they are suddenly scrambling to set aside more money for retirement. Both now realize that they will need to work more years than they wanted to. And they earned decent money, my brother as an aerospace engineer and his wife as a school teacher but with a spotty employment record so she is entitled to only a percentage of what would be full retirement benefits from the State public employee benefits administration. But they did not adequately save money to supplement their social security and employer-based pensions or retirement plans in old age.

    For what its worth, Social security was created in 1935 following the Great Depression in the US. It was never intended to be a person's sole source of income in old age. Life was very different prior to 1935 - most people lived agrarian lives, grew their own food, owned their home and land, and lived with extended family (parents, grandparents, children, etc.) who helped share the work and resources. The average life span was shorter then, too, so the number of years that one was expected to receive social security was shorter than today. So the idea was that most people had the ability to grow their own food and owned a house, and that they would be largely self-sustaining without dependence on the government.

    To make matters worse, you will be taxed by the Internal Revenue Service on your social security payments. I don't know how much I will owe for annual income taxes as I don't plan to start drawing my payments until next year when I'll be 66 years old.

    At age 65 you will be eligible for Medicare which will pay approximately 80% of your medical bills. It is not free - you have to pay for your Medicare insurance coverage, and, if you're smart and have the money, you should also obtain and pay for a supplemental health insurance policy to cover costs and the 20% of medical bills that Medicare does not cover. I pay about $400 per month for Medicare now and understand that premium amount is based on my earnings before retirement. The more you earned, the more you will pay for Medicare.

    I know I sound like a broken record to my children because I tell them all the time to save money NOW while they are young so they will have money when they are old like their father and me. They don't need to buy fancy brand new cars or big expensive houses or to vacation in Europe every year. Of course they can opt to do those things, but will regret in old age that they didn't save money and wisely invest it so it could grow over their working lives.

    Many people who live on social security are eligible for EBT benefits - which we used to call food stamps - which helps with buying food. You should investigate your eligibility for EBT assistance.

    This is why we see people in their 60s and 70s working at fast food joints, sweeping floors in grocery stores, and doing whatever they can to earn money. It is indeed frightening to contemplate.
     
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