If you spent afternoons watching The Golden Girls like I did, then you spent some time hearing about the great stories of Sophia’s Sicily, witnessed Blanche flirt like a professional, laugh over the ridiculousness Rose always spouted and, maybe even aspired to be as wise as Dorothy. They painted the retirement years as something to definitely look forward to with never a dull moment. In fact, they made the days of retirement look downright glamorous and full of adventure.
If any of us get to live it up like the Golden Girls, then we’d be lucky because they are definitely making the most out of life! However exciting retirement can be, it’s still something most people stress and fret over, and rightfully so. Trying to figure out the best way to save your money, making sure you’ve made the right investments, and still have something left over to do all the things you wish to do, retiring can be daunting. Not to mention it seems that we’ll all be working until the end of time with the costs of things constantly going up.
So when we aren’t thinking about cliff diving in Hawaii or zip lining through the Costa Rican jungle, we think a little bit about things that’ll help us in our older days, aside from various types of pension plans. We’re talking about Social Security and Medicare! Fun stuff, right? Especially when all people seem to hear about these days is that Social Security is dwindling and there won’t be any left for the youngsters.
On the bright side, Social Security was created in 1935 thanks to President Roosevelt, so it’s a bit impressive a government program has lasted so long; and for now it’s still around! Therefore, let’s talk about the government programs, Social Security and Medicare, and maybe fill our clients in on the ins and outs of the two.
First things first, if you were born in 1942 or before, you are already eligible for Social Security benefits, otherwise, the following chart displays the different retirement ages. Keep in mind, though, that your benefits will increase by a certain percentage if you wait until your full retirement age. Contrary, you may receive early retirement benefits starting at 62, but if you go that route, your benefits are reduced by one-half of one percent for each month you start your Social Security.
|Year of Birth||Full Retirement Age|
|1955||66 and 2 months|
|1956||66 and 4 months|
|1957||66 and 6 months|
|1958||66 and 8 months|
|1959||66 and 10 months|
|1960 or later||67|
Here’s how it works, though. There are credits based off the amount of your earning and your work history is used to determine your eligibility for retirement. Based on 2015, people received one credit for each $1,220 of earnings. Unfortunately, each year the amount of earnings needed for credits goes up slightly as average earnings increase.
The Social Security credits earned also count towards eligibility for Medicare once you are 65. Medicare is the country’s health insurance program for our beloved elders over 65. It’s financed by part of the payroll taxes paid by workers and their employees and monthly premiums deducted from Social Security checks.
Not all medical expenses are covered, however. Depending on which plan you get (Part A, B, C, or D) determines what exactly will be covered. For instance, part A covers hospital stays and hospice care while part D covers prescriptions. Just make sure to research the various plans when you’re looking into your future!
See? It’s not nearly as exciting and glamorous as the Golden Girls lives down in Miami, but as they say, it’s better than nothing! Maybe the government will figure another program out before the Social Security runs out; we’ll keep our fingers crossed. Until then, keep these little nuggets in mind when you’re thinking about pension plans and the exotic trips you’ll envision!