Depressing Thought #1
The only thing I find useful or remotely interesting in the Statement is a snapshot of my earnings history. I always took great pride and pleasure in seeing how my income always went up and up. I suspect that when I get laid off from my current job, this upward trend will break.
Years I Worked
My Taxed SS Earnings
My Taxed Medicare Earnings
But ironically, I think my happiest years were when I was earning the least (with the exception of when I was attending law school between 1995-1998). I may not have been earning enough to buy or do much, but I definitely had less stress then. I'm sure this is mainly because I didn't have the onerous debt back then that I have now. It never fails to amaze me the crushing effect debt can have on one's soul. Perhaps when I'm debt-free I wouldn't care how much I made.
Depressing Thought #2
I don't pay attention to the rest of my SS statement (particularly the estimated benefits section), since I truly believe that I won't be receiving any benefits from Social Security and/or Medicare when I retire. After all, the Trustees estimate that the SS trust fund will be depleted by 2037 and the Medicare trust will be exhausted by 2017.
I guess I'm really depressed about this since:
- My tax payments have (and will continue to) subsidize others, but when it's my turn to retire, I may not see a lick of it.
- My 401k administrator has implemented an "advice and planning" program. In this program, I'm asked whether I want to take into consideration my "estimated" SS benefits.
Here's the difference in my projected retirement income between receiving Social Security benefits and not receiving Social Security benefits:
Without Social Security Benefits
With Social Security Benefits
A marked difference, eh? I'm depressed at the thought that I'm contributing quite a bit towards my retirement now, but I may have to live at poverty-line in retirement.
For example, I contributed $19,993 into my 401k last year (including company match). I'm on track to contribute much more this year. I've also started purchasing I-bonds ($25/month) and I've started contributing $50/month into my Roth IRA.
Keep in mind that in 23 years, $1 is only worth about 40 cents today, assuming 4% annual inflation. So without Social Security benefits, I basically have a 70% chance of having a $44k/year lifestyle in 23 years which is the equivalent of living on approximately $18k/year now!
I never expected to live high on the hog in retirement, but I never thought I would have to scrape-by even with so much effort now. Am I the only one who is worried sick that she or he may not have enough to comfortably retire?