The idea of raising the retirement age because of social security concerns is a thought that many did not even consider when social security first started in 1935. As more and more baby boomers are becoming retirement age and can draw social security, less people are paying into the system which will bankrupt or significantly lessen the amount of social security benefits a retiree can draw. The average life expectancy has risen significantly since Social Security first started. Raising the age of retirement because life expectancy has risen will benefit not only the social security system, a person’s health and well-being as well as future generations. “Americans are living longer and are having fewer children. Together these factors result in the aging of the U.S. population and a subsequent strain on the Social Security system.” (Reznik, Shoffner, & Weaver, 2005/ 2006) Is it time to raise the age of retirement and when a person can draw social security so that future generations will be able to collect at the amount they were expecting?
The options that have been given to help solve the impending issues have been to either raise the retirement age or reduce the benefits given to retirees. What would happen to the people who are expecting either to retire at a certain age or who are expecting a certain amount of retirement benefits only to be reduced as they retire? “Social Security faces a financial challenge from the impending retirement of the largest generation in American history, the 76 million persons born in the “baby boom” years, from 1946 through 1964. Boomers began to reach age 62 in 2008.” (National Academy of Social Insurance) Not only is this a strain on the current social security system, but a strain for generations to come.
It is time to increase the age at which American workers can receive Social Security benefits—both the full benefits age and the early eligibility age. Longevity trends show that not only are workers living longer and staying healthier longer than in the past, but that this improvement is likely to continue. (John, 2010)
According to the chart below, the average life expectancy has gone up since 1940 and will continue to rise likely due to better health care coverage and more people taking control of their own healthy lifestyles.
While raising the retirement age would work for some people, for others it would be a strain on their well-being. It would be more demanding on a person with a physically challenging job to work longer. Retiring later in life with a more physically demanding job puts a strain on a person’s health and if they needed to work longer, the wear and tear on their bodies would be detrimental to the healthy retirement living that is envisioned. “Our labor force is much more intellectually and technologically driven today. The trend of less physically challenging careers could mean that more people are able to work longer.” (Pendola, 2011)