How Old is “Old?” - Esquire

How old is old? Well, judging by the amount of seniors still working thereafter, age 65 is certainly no longer considered “old” for most Americans. So how, then, did 65 become the de facto retirement age? Well, we typically think of it that way because 65 was once the minimum age at which Social Security benefits were available, and it’s also the age at which Medicare benefits become available. That may have been “old” when those programs were conceived many years ago, but the reality is that life expectancy has since advanced about 2 decades. Life expectancy when the first Social Security benefit was paid was about 60 for a man and 64 for a woman. Today, life expectancy for those first eligible for Social Security is mid-80s – actually 84 for a man and 87 for a woman. And therein lies much of the reason why Social Security is facing financial difficulties in the not-too-distant future. Beneficiaries are now collecting benefits for decades instead of a few years.

This Esquire article by Michael Clinton reviews how and why age 65 became viewed as the age at which to retire, but also discusses the reality that 65 is far from being considered “old” today. The article further explains how this phenomenon affects America’s social programs, specifically Medicare and Social Security, and how Congress must soon come to grips with the need for program reform, or preside over the destruction of both. As the article concludes, “If no one on the Hill has the guts to ring the alarm for meaningful reform, Social Security as we know it today won’t exist or at best be a shell of itself.

AMAC has been at the forefront trying to strengthen Social Security by developing and proposing its Social Security Guarantee which restores the program to solvency without raising payroll taxes.  AMAC has been discussing and continues to discuss this common-sense solution with Congressional Representatives in its efforts to protect America’s senior citizens who rely on Social Security.  To review AMAC’s Social Security Guarantee, click here.

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