Social Security And Elder Finances

I Worry About the Young People and I Worry About the Older People. Did you know that the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 9 percent of children have symptoms of depression? It is believed that the large number of social pressures may be pushing more kids over the edge. Depressed youngsters are at high risk for school failure, social isolation, promiscuity, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, and suicide. A large number of children today, depressed or not, is joining gangs and consequently, younger and younger children are committing crimes and going to jail at earlier ages. What is even worse, a large number of high-school students have had suicidal thoughts and some of them have even planed to take their own lives. I am worried!

In order to live a good life after becoming an older person, young people need to start saving and planning at an early age. Unfortunately, young people do not believe that they will ever get old. I am worried because of the very large number of older people who are struggling because of an inadequate income. A number of people think that as result of the trillions of dollars owned by the government, not only is Social Security in trouble, but so is Medicare. If we have so many depressed young people living amongst us today, image what is going to happen when they are older and confronted the inability to meet their living expenses; with no pensions, no saving, no health benefits and no governmental help in site.

Did you know that millions of older people try to make it on less than $10,000 a year? Many of our other older people live on less than $5,000 a year. Obviously, many of our elder citizens are poor. I am worried because our President seems determined to privatize Social Security. This worry me because I believe that no group will be affected more that those earning the least if the Bush administration is successful in privatizing Social Security. Most of our older people have small or no pensions and small or no savings.

In case you have not been keeping up with privatization, President Bush’s goal is to allow Americans younger than 55 to put four percent of their income into personal retirement accounts. These accounts would be invested in a select group of stock and bond funds. Surely, this would make Wall Street happy, but critics, myself included, think investments accounts are too risky. They would also require costly reductions in the guaranteed benefits offered by the current system. Privatization would expose retiring adults to risks that many are not equipped to handle.

Do not misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with investing money in the stock market. I own several stocks, a few bonds, a few ETF’s, and an IRA. However, I definitely do not want politicians picking what Wall Street firms that will control my money. For some reason politicians making the decision on which Wall Street firms will make billions in inflated fees from privatized accounts makes me extremely suspicious. I do believe that many deals go down under the table, but I am not into conspiracy theories per se. Still when I think about young people and older people, I can help getting worried.

Herman Wheeler
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Recently retired from AT&T as a technician. Began trying to make a go on the internet only a few months ago. Like most newbies, I had no idea what I was getting into. Now that the shock is over, I feel confident that I made the correct choice for an after-retirement profession.

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