Friday, July 17, 2009

The Early Bird of Retirement Doesn't Get the Worm

Thinking about retiring earlier since you turned 62, the age when you are eligible for early retirement and can collect social security? Well, you better take a hard look at the drawbacks of early retirement.

I visited the Van Nuys Social Security Administration office a few weeks ago. I appeared to be the only U.S. citizen in the room or at least, I thought so. I grumbled a lot about illegals coming to the US and going on Social Security and then asked the security guard whether all the people in the waiting room are Americans. She told me that as long as you can establish legal residence and have a Green Card, you are eligible for SS. I wasn't too happy to hear that. Of course, a person must pay into the system and put in a certain amount of money to qualify, but why should non-U.S. citizens benefit from a retirement package if they did not go through the process of becoming part of the red, white and blue? Even if they put money into the system, if they are illegal, how about the money they aren't paying in taxes and getting paid under the table?

When I was able to see my representative, I asked him the same question about illegals receiving Social Security Benefits. He asked me, "What do you want us to do, throw these people out on the streets?" I replied, "Yes, and then maybe they will either return to their country of origin or become U.S. citizens like my grandparents did when they came here over seventy years ago."

So if you're 20 to 40 years old and you are worried about receiving Social Security benefits, you should be deeply concerned. Youre paying for the retirement of people who are not citizens and no one knows how long they've even been in the U.S. They could have falsified Social Security cards and IDs. But no one in the federal or state governments wants to touch the sacred cow of illegal aliens. Therefore, the younger U.S. citizens will suffer. I won't. Why? Because I've been paying Social Security taxes since I was 16 years old. I've put into the system and when I am ready, I am taking my money out.

So what did I find out about early retirement? Well, you can retire at 62 years of age. I think my benefits are close to $1600 a month. However, once I make over $11,000 in any given year, my benefits are suspended for that year. I would have to wait until the next year, assuming I am not working or making over $11,000 to reapply for my early retirement benefits. I concluded early retirement is for people who can live for under $30,000 a year or maybe have some other money hidden away.

As for me I want to work as long as I can and if I can, I want to make more than $30,000 a year. If I wait until I am 66, I will make an additional $500 a month on my Social Security benefits and at that age I can work all I want without having my SS benefits suspended. Not bad. So I am waiting. Not that I'm looking forward to becoming 66. I dread it. But the supplemental pay is decent.

One more item i discovered is that if you take an early retirement, you are locked into that lower amount for the rest of your life just because you took out your money early. So if I took my $1600 a month, I would make that amount from SS until I'm deceased. No thanks. I'll always go for the higher amount because I worked for over 40 years and I want my full benefits.

A lot of people I've spoken to have taken early retirement and did not know this information and are kicking themselves for making a bad, misinformed decision.

On the other hand, we need a major Social Security overhaul to make sure illegals are prevented from tapping into the system. Friends have told me that they have gone down to the SS Administration office in their town and applied for SS and were never asked for ID. Once again, the illegals have found another way to rip off America-the country with it's hand out to anyone crafty enough to abuse the system and get away with it.

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