Retirement. That’s something older people need to think about, right? Even if I don’t make enough to retire early, surely the government has my back? I’m all for ‘glass is half full’ thinking but if this is your view Team Millennial, I’m afraid I’m going to have to pop your bubble!
Let’s start with ‘the government has my back’. There are two areas of government that normally affect retirement, healthcare, and social security:
The government health insurance program available for seniors is called Medicare. Medicare covers treatment of medical conditions (commonly known as ‘Part A’), preventative services (B), and prescription drugs (D). It’s a common assumption that Medicare is free, but parts B and D come with premiums. Just to complicate matters, there’s a private sector variation of the above – part C. This covers at least A and B through a separate plan called Medicare Advantage with some potential for additional protection based on the policy Clear as mud, right?
What does this mean to me? Taking politics of the situation, Medicare has longer term funding issues. This means we can’t assume it will be there in its current form or be available from age 65. As life expectancy grows and healthcare costs continue to escalate, cost control pressure will ramp up.
I’m not suggesting Medicare will go away, but in all likelihood, the initial age requirement will rise and deductibles/premiums could also rise. The often quoted following phrase feels appropriate – ‘hope for the best but plan for the worst‘.
Social security is the government program that provides income to retired persons. The earliest date the oldest Millennials will be able to take advantage of full social security benefits is currently 67. As things stand today, your benefits are calculated by taking into consideration your 35 highest earning years entered into a complex formula (a calculator is available here for the curious).
Funding social security has some of the same issues as Medicare; people are living longer. Media reports indicate funding challenges kick in by 2035, which would either require more taxpayer contributions, or reduced benefits. As before, please don’t take current benefits levels for granted.
However, Every Cloud……
has a silver lining. More than any generation, we can do something about this! We have the biggest thing on our side, time. The first step is education. Please read about the power of compound interest with our article here. It shows you the fundamentals. How to avoid debt grabbing too much of your income. And also, how setting aside a small amount each month will allow you to plan for a retirement, on your terms.
Retirement does seem a long time away but if you don’t take control, that long time may well stretch to your 70’s. Take control today when you Learn to Earn…….
Please let me know what you think below. Is retirement something you have thought about yet? What age do you think you’ll start smelling the roses at? Early retirement is a dream of mine, moving now is the only way I will make it a reality.