We May Not Live To See Our Glory (Retirement)

As we’ve learned, no one’s gotten a raise, effectively, in five years. So, the government figures, why should seniors get one? Especially with the price of gas what it is (down 30%).

Sorry, seniors, all 65 million of you. Those are the breaks.

For the first time in five years, there will be no annual raise in their Social Security benefits in 2016. …

The problem for seniors is that the way the government measures inflation simply doesn’t reflect how people on Social Security spend.

Seniors don’t benefit as much from lower gas prices as the average American worker because most are no longer driving to and from work. Medical costs have also increased faster than overall inflation, and a greater percentage of seniors’ spending is on health care.

A study by the Senior Citizens League found that Social Security benefits have lost about 22% of their buying power since 2000, despite the benefit increases due to the COLA.

The typical retiree’s benefit is about $1,300 a month, so last year’s increase meant a $22 a month raise.

Ugh, poor Grandma. What did she do to deserve this? And anyway when was the last time you called?

If you’re not feeling too sympathetic, Mr. Millennial, allow me to remind you that you probably won’t be retiring until you’re 75, according to new number crunching by NerdWallet: “The current average retirement age is 62, so today’s college graduates will need to work 13 years longer before they can retire.” You might do better, they acknowledge, if you live(d) at home for a while to save money, max out your 401K, and get over your fear of investing. But on average, you’ll still be working when you’re a blue hair — assuming you can find work, that is.

Just a couple years ago the same folks pegged the new retirement age at 73, so things are really getting grim. I mean, my dad died at 70. His dad died at 70. My two uncles split the difference, one dying his late 60s and the other in his late 70s. My aunt, the one I’m named after, died unexpectedly in her 30s.

There are exceptions in my family, too. My grandma is nearly 103; her husband, my grandpa, beat off three cancers and died at 89. Both of them had aged siblings. So far, knock wood, my Everest-climbing, ballroom-dancing mother is going strong.

Overall, though, it doesn’t look great. And it’s not just my family. As Alternet has reported, “Americans don’t live as long as citizens of most other rich countries.”

In 2010, a baby born in Japan was expected to live to 82.6. Babies born in Iceland, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Israel, France, and a number of other countries could expect to see their 80th birthdays. What about American babies? Those born in 2010 are expected to live only to age 78.2.

For those born in 2010, 78.2 probably will be the effective retirement age. Maybe instead of even expecting to cut us social security checks, the government should buy our cemetery plots and call it even.

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