The Social Security Administration released its 2008 Fast Facts and Figures report this month and given our current economic crisis and the tsunami of Boomers getting ready to retire the report is informative, important and a reminder of critical financial challenges on the horizon. Some of the more notable facts and figures are as follows:
*SSA paid benefits to 54.7 million beneficiaries in 2007, but over the next two decades there will be 78 million Boomers first eligible to retire (beginning in 2008).
*Women accounted for 56% of adult Social Security recipients in 2007
*The average monthly benefit for women was $896 and for men was $1,184 in 2007.
*Aged non-married women and minorities have the highest rates of poverty relative to their aged counterparts. In 2006, 16.8% of aged nonmarried women lived in poverty and 10.2% are near poor. The statistics for minorities are even worse: 22.7% of aged Blacks lived in poverty and 9.8% are near poor; 19.4% of aged Hispanics lived in poverty and 10.3% are near poor.
*The report indicates that by 2017 the payments to beneficiaries will be greater than the payments in taxes. By 2041, under the current Social Security system structure, the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted.
Given the tumbling and insecure financial markets and, in turn, private pensions and retirement funds, the present and future security of Social Security benefits and Medicare becomes even more critical for all Americans.
It is about the economy and restoring security for Main Street as well as Wall Street.