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Most Americans retire between the ages of 62 and 64.  And the average American is now expected to live to 79, meaning people who retire at 62 can receive 17 years or more of government benefits like Social Security.

But Americans’ practical ability to retire is in jeopardy, as The Heritage Foundation’s David John reported last fall:

Americans’ ability to build a secure retirement is increasingly in danger. In addition to Social Security’s rapidly approaching fiscal problems and underfunded traditional defined-benefit pensions, the retirement savings system is available to only about half of the workforce and needs other improvements before today’s workers can create sufficient retirement income.

One alternative would be for seniors to change when they retire, Heritage’s Romina Boccia suggests: “Delaying the age of retirement for those able to continue working means a big income boost for seniors, less strain on Social Security, and more economic growth.”

Boccia points us to an article in the New York Times explaining why healthy seniors should stay in the workforce longer:

[A] study published several years ago by C. Eugene Steuerle, Barbara A. Butrica and Karen E. Smith of the Urban Institute found that working just one more year would increase retirees’ income in retirement by 9 percent. Working an additional five years would lift their incomes by 56 percent.

In fact, David John suggests raising the retirement age for all future retirees. But this alone won’t be enough to improve our retirement system. “A higher retirement age should be part of a whole package of Social Security reforms,” he argues, “including ending the payroll tax for workers willing to work past their normal retirement age.”

Do you think that Heritage has the right solutions for preserving Social Security? And do you think delaying the retirement age for future retirees is a valid option?  Tell us below.

Comments (5)

Royce Boon - March 28, 2013

As long as it is voluntary and not government dictated, yes it would be good to keep working. However, don’t forget to take into account that many people who keep working do so at drastically reduced wages, due to the age discrimination that exists in the business world today.

elaine - March 28, 2013

I am 70 and still working. I own my own business so I pay double FICA

Valerie Rigg - March 28, 2013

If people want to work past 65, they shouldn’t have to pay income tax. Also, people who have chronic medical problems should not have to work past age 65. We must reform what we call chronic medical problem, though. Medicare and Medicaid are prime examples of how this whole definition has gotten lost and now people abuse the system. Have to be careful of the slippery slope.

Sgt. John B Myers – Tea Party - March 29, 2013

I work part time now to add to my SSI and retirement pay outs. Why doesn’t congress give back the 50% to SSI it has taken out for other programs ?

Larry Adams - August 2, 2015

One of the things I think is stupid is limiting your income if you take your Social Security benefits before 66. Your limited to making just over $15,000 and even when you turn 66 you can only make $44,000 because ever 2 dollars over that amount at 62 you lose 1 dollar of your Social Security and at 66 it is 1 dollar for every 3 over. I just can believe they have the right to tell us how much money we can make. It’s my social security I earn it by paying in for 42 years. It only makes sense to me to let people retire early if they want and let them make all the money they can because it’s more taxes uncle sam collects. If I live passed 76 I will be loosing money on my social security because I took my social security early. Yes, delaying the retirement age is a good option because people are living longer but they have pushed this can down the road for so long it’s time they fix this problem before our debt hits 90T.

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