sounds like a simple fix to the nationís immense
problem of funding Social Security and Medicare for an
aging country ó just get everyone to work to 70 and
the math works out a lot better.
this idea, despite being embraced by a number of
politicians, has a long way to go. Itís being
challenged in academic circles as a new form of
inequality. This one has been dubbed "longevity
argument made against a retirement age of 70 is that itís
not fair to people in the types of jobs that require
brawn. Think of a 68-year-old climbing on top of a house
to replace the roofing. Then compare that person with a
68-year-old tapping a computer keyboard.
addition, people with college educations and desk jobs
tend to live longer than those with low incomes. Hereís
where the money inequality issue gets fierce. If the
professional lives a lot longer than the roofer, after
retiring at 70 the person who had the desk job could
keep getting monthly Social Security checks for years
longer than the roofer. So the argument is that a lot
more Social Security will go to the affluent people than
to those who met their demise at a much earlier point in
the last few years, the issue of pushing the retirement
age to 70 gained ground as researchers noted that people
are living much longer than they once did. In 1915, a
65-year-old man could expect to live until age 79.7 on
average. In 2015, it was 86.1 years. Thatís 6.4 extra
years of drawing Social Security benefits. For women,
life expectancy has climbed from 83.7 years in 1915 to
88.7 in 2015.
those are averages. Studies have shown life expectancy
varies based on income, race, education and even the
state or county where people reside. The General
Accountability Office dug into the issue this spring
with a report that showed great discrepancies in life
expectancy between income groups.
men approaching retirement live on average 3.6 to 12.7
fewer years than higher-income men, the GAO wrote in its
report. And with those shorter life spans, the GAO
noted, lower-income people would end up earning far less
Social Security than the higher-income people because
lower-income groups tend to live shorter than the
national average for life expectancy.
earlier ends up cutting a low-income personís lifetime
benefits by as much as 11 to 14 percent, said the GAO.
Based simply on longevity, higher-income workers now get
$70,000 more over a lifetime than low-income retirees,
the GAO said.
people also depend more on Social Security than the
affluent. Currently, monthly Social Security benefits on
average equal about half of what lower-income people
were making while working. Workers with relatively high
career earnings received monthly checks that equal about
30 percent of what they earned while working.
people retire earlier than the full retirement age,
their monthly check is reduced. Despite the reduction,
the most common age to retire in 2014 was 62. Full
retirement age is now 66. So a person who would have
received $1,000 at age 66 would get only $750 at age 62.
people retire early because they have little choice.
They become ill or encounter layoffs or other problems
at work. About 36 percent of current retirees retired
earlier than they planned, according to research by
Employee Benefit Research Institute.
that want 70 to be the age for full retirement benefits
would allow people to retire earlier, but doing so would
reduce their monthly check. Neither Hillary Clinton nor
Donald Trump have embraced the idea.
the average person in the low-income group who was
making $20,000 when working would get $156,000 over a
lifetime in Social Security benefits after retiring at
age 62 and living to 83, according to the GAO. A person
in the high-income group who was making about $80,000
would get about $355,000 over a lifetime after retiring
at 62 and living to 83.
in the low-income group, living to 80 would be more
likely. And that would mean receiving about $138,000
from Social Security after retiring at 62. The
higher-income man would have a life expectancy of 86 and
earn $411,000 from Social Security after retiring at 62.
Center For Retirement Research at Boston College
recently ranked the jobs that would be the most likely
to require a person to retire prior to full retirement
age: rock splitter in a quarry, floor sander,
steelworker, commercial diver, truck driver and oil
collar jobs where people tend to be the most able to
continue working include: interior designer, lawyer,
aerospace engineer, loan counselor and radio announcer.
some professional jobs are also physically demanding and
can become difficult with age, including surgeons and
critical care nurses.