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Why I Want to Increase My Retirement Age

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I am 41 years old, a college graduate, a husband and father, a business owner, an engaged member of my community and a proud American. I happen to be a Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF), and I completely understand all the personal implications of the following:

I would like to immediately increase my "full retirement" age for the purposes of Social Security from its current 67 to 69. And I would like to change the formal date of "full retirement" for all those 53 and younger. I select 53 because if you are older than 53 (you were born before 1960), then your "full retirement" age was already incrementally increased by the National Commission on Social Security Reform in 1983.

Yes, we have been through this before. All those who were born before 1960 were given retirement ages dependent on their birth year, and those born after 1960 were given the same retirement age of 67. For those of us under the age of 53, our life expectancies have continued to increase while our start date for receiving benefits has remained constant. This is the very definition of unsustainable when it comes to retirement income.

Why increasing "full retirement" age is fair
To our benefit, being younger than 53, we have 14-plus years remaining in our formal working life -- we have the time to plan, make the right choices, and save to supplement our future retirement income. I fully understand that this will mean I will lose two full years of retirement benefits that are currently due me under the present system. I fully understand that if I wish to retire on those benefits two years earlier, I will need to take responsibility for the additional income myself. For folks older than myself and younger than 53, I believe they should retain a greater share of their expected Social Security income, and for those that are younger than myself (my children included), I believe they should plan to receive a smaller share of their current expected Social Security and Medicare benefits by starting to receive those benefits even later.

Below you can see my own admittedly simplistic method of displaying this possibility. I am sure there are many other ways to do it both fairly and with minimal harm.

As a simple contextual tool, you can see that I am recommending that my 5-year-old daughter wait eight years more to receive her full Social Security benefits than an individual who is 53 today. Will this make my daughter happy, when she discovers that I lobbied for lower federal benefits? Maybe not -- sort of depends on what I bring her up believing she is entitled to.

But, is it fair? I believe so. It is true that she will receive her financial benefits later in life than the generations that preceded her, but she will also certainly benefit from the lifestyle-improving products and services that were created and produced by those earlier generations (just as they benefited from the work of generations before them). The benefits of the medical research alone will help her live a longer, healthier life. She will benefit from standing on the shoulders of prior generations, as every generation does. She will live longer for it and so should expect to work longer as well -- both to provide for herself and her family, and to improve the knowledge base for the continued improved life and health of generations to come.

Benefits and income earned
Further, if I should be in the top 20% of income earners in retirement based on whatever tax code is in force at the time, I will happily forgo some percentage of my Social Security and Medicare benefits. I do this as a citizen of a great nation and as a citizen of humanity, acknowledging that the nation cannot afford all the benefits we have promised and that, if I do happen to be among the top earners, there are people for whom the need will be greater than my own. If I happen to be among the top 10% or even 5%, then I expect to receive an even smaller share of my otherwise expected federal benefits.

Fully understanding the probable disagreement on the topic, I wish to state that I am firmly a member of the (probably upper) middle class, and I simply believe this is the right thing to do. I am a fairly ordinary businessperson. I worked awfully hard and took many risks to get where I am, but I didn't do it alone. I grew up with a supportive family, I received a very good education, and I am surrounded by a superb staff for which I am extremely grateful. I am hopeful regarding my own long-term success, but I understand I am in no way guaranteed that success.

The corrective to individualism
Wallace Stegner wrote in a book of essays, "American individualism, much celebrated and cherished, has developed without its essential corrective, which is belonging." I am a businessperson and a capitalist, and I believe that great benefits are derived from the flow of capital between individuals making their own free choices of what products and services to buy and sell. This being said, I BELONG. I belong to the human race and I belong to America. I am one constituent among many. If we are to have a system that will benefit future generations, I believe we must make important changes to that system today.

Even with the knowledge that I may at some point rely on Social Security (which I hope is never the case), I will freely relinquish a portion of my benefits for the long-term sustainability of the system. I suspect that others would willingly do the same if the changes were incremental as suggested above and if they had time to make alternative plans. Given the stark reality of our retirement income situation, it is time for each of us to give some of our benefits back so that future generations may have any benefits at all.

Please push my full retirement age up to 69, and my children's to 74 and 75, respectively, and focus the potential pool of benefits on those who will really need them in retirement.

Jonathan K. DeYoe, AIF and CPWA, is the founder and CEO of DeYoe Wealth Management in Berkeley, Calif. Want more information? Follow DeYoe Wealth Management on Twitter at @DeYoeWealth or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DeYoeWealth.

Jonathan DeYoe, California Insurance License No. 0C21749, is a registered principal with and securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor – Member FINRA/SIPC.

The opinions voiced in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial and are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations to any individual. For your individual investing needs, please see your investment professional regarding retirement planning.


Read/Post Comments (21) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 1:58 PM, greyhound44 wrote:

    Sure glad I retired 10 years ago at age 58.75!

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 2:53 PM, bamissfa wrote:

    something else the writer is:

    clueless about being over 50

    clueless about being over 60

    The current generation isn't going to live to age 50 because of their sexually promiscuous, smoking drinking, drugging pills, meth, coke, heroin, marijuana puffing fast food eating riotous living and all that equals to poor education poor work ethic etc.

    the young don't know what they don't know and haven't experienced yet.

    Old age is not for sissies.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 2:53 PM, bamissfa wrote:

    something else the writer is:

    clueless about being over 50

    clueless about being over 60

    The current generation isn't going to live to age 50 because of their sexually promiscuous, smoking drinking, drugging pills, meth, coke, heroin, marijuana puffing fast food eating riotous living and all that equals to poor education poor work ethic etc.

    the young don't know what they don't know and haven't experienced yet.

    Old age is not for sissies.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 2:56 PM, Gail1964 wrote:

    I'd like to know where all these "old" people are going to work. There aren't enough jobs. It was nearly impossible in 2006 to find a job when I was 49. Also I really don't want to put up with the abuse from employers I've had to endure for nearly 4 decades.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 3:04 PM, anarchyst wrote:

    Mr. DeYoe probably has a "cushy" job, but for many of us who do real man's work, our bodies are just "worn out" by age 60. Mr. DeYoe is free to up his own retirement age, keep your hands off everyone else's.

    The social security retirement age should not have been increased for anyone who initially signed on when the promise of retirement was age 65. We were FORCED into Social Security and paid our dues.

    Social Security is NOT an "entitlement" but is EARNED.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 3:07 PM, rathbateman wrote:

    Opting out of this entire FICA-SS ponzi scheme needs to be a choice for people such as my wife. Years ago, she was diagnosed with a genetic disease, and doctors give her single digit odds of living past 50. She still works full-time, and has sent a small fortune to Washington over the past couple decades. When it's a near certainty that you'll not survive to collect any benefits, it's wrong to make you pay into it.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 3:11 PM, BillB1951 wrote:

    Not only does the author not understand the actual physical condition of being 50 or 60 or 70, he does not relate to the physical wear placed on the human body by physical labor. After 30 or 40 years of physical labor away from the desk, the average human body is ready for a cool-down.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 3:17 PM, NewYorker535 wrote:

    than have the entire nation retire at the same time, there are police officers who retire after 20 years service at 45, school teachers at 50, state employees ofter 30 years with full pension.

    Only the people on SS have to wait until 66 or later. That's not fair, one rule for all, including all our elected officials.

    Some retire with 50 and get a new real job and get SS with 62

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 3:23 PM, kmkoehn wrote:

    All those years that I was paying in ( almost 40 years) money to Social Security I viewed it as saving for my retirement when I became 65 year old. It was a significant amount of what I earned If it is not to be viewed as a "put away" for my retirement then just give me the money, don't deduct it and I would have saved it for myself for my retirement.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 3:24 PM, AirForceFool wrote:

    Couldn't find the quote about societies collapsing when more than half of the population thinks they are entitled to more then they put into the system. Completely agree with this article...coming up on 25 years in the military... The taxpayers have been very good to me and I appreciate it... I never used to support a phased out approach, but we have to do something...either reduce the amount of benefits or increase the age at which one collects...what other choice to we have... There are just not enough folks working to support the huge increase in retirees due to folks living longer...sure... Would be nice if unemployment wasn't adding to the pain, but the system as currently designed and is unsupportable. I would take an income based cut if the gov would stop borrowing from the "fund" and put the money "back" in an effort to "guarantee" future viability.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 3:35 PM, omskpicker wrote:

    I am suprised that site like this promotes communist ideas.

    I studied Karl Marx in school,it was mandatory where I came from.

    Marx and Lenin would be proud of MrJonathan K. DeYoe.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 3:42 PM, kmanmlk wrote:

    I have been unemployed for over 3 yrs and will retire at 62 in 6 months. When you get retirement age you are lucky to have a job much less find one. Raise the minimum wage and more money will go in to SS. The Walton Family is worth over 100 Billion. Let them forgo SS or at least pay more. Raise the threshold. Don't raise the age.

    A knucklehead wrote this crap and secretly works for the Republican Party

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 3:50 PM, James902 wrote:

    Do away with the cap for Social Security withholding. Problem solved.

    Why do payments to the system end at ~

    $ 115,000 ?

    If you make $ 2,000,000 - then pay the withholding on all of your earnings !!

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 5:11 PM, John1906 wrote:

    If you raise the age on anyone, raise it on those born after 1983, because everyone born before that year has already been screwed once on our SS retirement age. That said, this whole idea of raising the age of retirement is one that comes from white collar Republicans. That's because the alternative solution is to raise the cap on withholding and that will affect the higher income earners which the GOP is sworn to protect, even if they have to screw everyone else in the process. In reality, raising the retirement is politically unfeasible, yet they continue to push the idea. The GOP doesn't realize they are a dead party (demographically). The writer needs to prepare for more of his wages to be subject to SS tax and accept that this will be for the greater good.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 7:55 PM, LarryTK wrote:

    Hey Jonny,

    With all due respect, do you have a callous on your hands, do you need to go to the chiropractor because of chronic back pain? Have you swung and eight pound sledge hammer for ten hours a day? Do you contribute 20% of your income to your 401(k)? Obviously you have already had your social security retirement age increased once already, good for you, buddy, work to the day you die or are crippled. Me, all I can say is I want what I earned, period. If it was up to me, I would never have contributed one penny to social security, a perfect government scam right up there with savings bonds. Disability insurance, that's another story, but at age 49, I don't think I'll see a dime of my social security "contributions." Oh yeah, I do have a college degree and if it wasn't for the useless bi-monthly theft from my paycheck, I'd be retired within the next five years

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 8:04 PM, LarryTK wrote:

    . (continued from last post) And just so you don't think I have a social conscience, I "contributed" four years of my life to service to this county overseas in Germany and the Persian Gulf. Not being disabled or otherwise encumbered negatively by that service, I see no benefit, other than protecting the idiotic ideas of compatriots such as yourself. All I know is, I work my ass off for my paycheck and I don't need anyone telling me that I need to add more time to my "working career" just to be fair. Put your money where your mouth is and vote for fiscalyl conservative government, read the Constitution and figure out what the government's responsibilities actually are.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 9:40 PM, CCHHKK wrote:

    Wallace Stegner has it right. Free people making free choices is how our founders envisioned this country. The worst thing that ever happened to seniors in this country was to let the government control any of their retirement income. Social security has been a tremendous political success to largely democrats by allowing them to buy off lower and lower middle class retirees with other peoples money. Most social security recipients burn through all of the money collected in their professional life in about 4 years. Life expectancy is 13.7 years of retirement. Add to that the FACT that the federal government embezzled the money collected and spent it on other programs. Trusting politicians with our retirement savings was idiotic in the first place. Trying to keep this corrupt system going a couple more years when demographics make its survival impossible is criminal.

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 10:28 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    The author can do anything he wants. However, he shouldn't be suggesting when I (or anyone else) should retire and when to start taking SS benefits. I plan to retire at age 55 and take benefits at 62. [Note that I work in the private sector and earned my pension and SS by working for 32 years -- i.e. nothing was handed to me.]

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 11:11 AM, Johny205 wrote:

    How about we quit giving payments for BS such as: alcoholism and ADHD. I've met people who are 18 and 19 years old that never paid a penny into SS, but get $700 per month because they have ADHD and therefore are "unable to work". What a load of crap. These people then never get a job, because they don't want to loose their free money. If being an alcoholic is a illness, then why not drug addicts and people with gambling problems? It's good to have systems that help people in need, but unfortunately these systems get abused to the point of being unsustainable!

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 11:50 AM, broknrekord3 wrote:

    Based on all of the comments above, the author is a conservative, white-collar-marxist. A couple of good suggestions in there, but mostly insanity.

    It's easy to forget that white collar doesn't mean low-pressure, even though I do believe that a tiered retirement system for folks that do physical labor to retire earlier should exist (much like military, educators, etc). The reality is some jobs are more wearisome than others, and pay doesn't always reflect it. As for people saying teachers retire at 50, yes, it's true, but they're not bringing home 80% of their pay; more like 40-50% at the most.

    Remove the cap on salaries. Increase payment into the system 1%. There's no need to raise the retirement age and we will survive the baby boomer generation as the next 'boom' of kids take baby boomer's jobs, as with those retirements new positions open up for the 20-somethings looking to start paying into the system.

    I find it commendable the author is willing to work later, and I'm sure there are plenty of others that will continue to work when they can collect. I'm glad to know some folks still believe in the community and supporting those less fortunate (whether or not by their own means).

  • Report this Comment On September 16, 2013, at 1:51 PM, Risky88 wrote:

    Excuse me but Police Officers and teachers are the BACKBONE of Society!

    I would love to see the average citizen be a police officer in North Minneapolis, Chicago, LA!

    I would love to see average citizen be a teacher in those same areas!

    Sure its their personal choice, but someone has to do it!

    As a matter of fact these people are the solution to society not the PROBLEM! But are well UNDER PAID!

    Police officer retiring at 50-55 is not unreasonable.

    Take a ride along in one of those places and PLUG IN.

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