28th November 2012
Between 1956 and 1969, the Social Security Administration published a series of comic books intended to sell the seniors’ retirement program to youngsters. One of the arguments the series makes is that Social Security is great because it relieves children and young adults of responsibility to help pay for the expenses of an aging parent. Don’t want to deal with mom and dad’s late-life costs? That’s what federal retirement benefits for seniors are for.
After all, we’re young and hip and have no time for those old fuddy-duddies — such a drag, man.
And the benefits that many seniors have or will receive are worth far more than they paid in: A single earner couple turning 65 in 2010 and earning the average wage would have paid in about $294,000 in Social Security taxes over a lifetime — but would get about $447,000 back, according to the Urban Institute. Include Medicare in the mix, and the imbalance is even larger: Lifetime taxes paid in would be about $352,000 while benefits would be about $798,000. (Two earner couples both making the average wage and retiring in 2010 would pay enough in taxes to finance their own retirement benefits, but would still get more out of the system overall when Medicare benefits are factored.)
Yeah … try getting that kind of return from the only child of your only child.