Episode-168- Don’t Bet On Social Security
Social insecurity begins with a tax scheme designed to talk earners out of their wages with a vague promise of rewards far in the future. Sounds like a suckers game to me and I have playing it for a long time. Social security is a “Money or your life!” tax that is designed to have the working pay for those less fortunate or retired. It’s a tall order in these times of high inflation for working folks to pay for those not working at rates for which they themselves will not be compensated in the future.
My first experience with social security was writing an application for my mother back in the early 90’s. It wasn’t until the third try did someone pay enough attention to review her case. She eventually received her benefits but I realized there was a government worker or two at the other end on a coffee break. But that isn’t the issue I have with social security it’s just a symptom of what I don’t like about it.
Social security for me it begins in the backyard. Now that I think about it really begins in the seedling trays and garage where I spend my winters preparing for productive summers. For me there are really only two seasons, winter and summer because what I do in the winter portends how my summer will pass. I know that building bee homes and planting seeds has already allowed me leap into spring with fully planted gardens and three filled bee boxes and it’s only April 29. This is a good life lesson because my actions have not been overly reliant on far away places to have the production I aim for in the backyard.
I look at my retirement similarly and must conclude that I may have missed the boat in some respect at least I have learned more about money in the past 10 years than the 30 to that. Because of the awakening I produce things for many reasons. One of which is to lead me to independence from reliance from my wage to support my lifestyle. I still want the wage but not as something that if I lose I am crushed. In many ways Social Security plays a role in how I face the future. I know enough not to believe in something too good to be true and Social Security is not even that good. Especially as a means of survival. I think the intentions under which it was founded were good but we all know that such a road leads to hell.
The wages that are taken from workers to support those not working are held in the Old Age and Survivors Insurance fund (OASI) and the Disability Insurance fund (DI) to make up OASIDI. That is the notation you see on your earning statement. Provided we live in a stable world with exponential growth i.e. exponential energy growth then regardless of needs there will always be enough wages to tax to support the system provided workers are not lost to over automation.
However, the world in which we live and the future we face is less stable than past generations could have imagined. It is also clear that growth and the cost of living are highly vulnerable to market machinations especially in these days where most account information only exists as a flow of electrons across computer systems. Yet the social security system is basing its survivability on the empirical nature of only the positive aspects of our world.
These times thus call for more attention to the simple things in life such as there will be more taxes, higher prices and the government’s got it now and you’re not getting it back. Same as it ever was. But it’s not necessary to fight the system or even a raise a flag rather it is imperative to take what you have to make more of what you need, be successful at it, profit from it and face your retirement as your responsibility. If there is any social security left for you to benefit from then all the better. In the meantime don’t bet your happiness on a government worker with too many coffee breaks.
By the way check the fees in your 401K before turning off the lights. Now go and do something useful to prepare for your retirement. Produce something useful with value and don’t store all your savings as electrons.