Something happened today that I didn’t expect. I was notified of my social security benefits.
It came in a very official looking envelope, and my first thought was what the hell could I be getting from social security services? I thought maybe it was some kind of unemployment information or something, but no, it really was about social security benefits. It was chock full of great things like “What social security means to you” and “Work to build a more secure future”, so I thought it was junk mail and almost threw it away.
Until I noticed the section section that titled “Your earnings record”, in which was a line that said “You have earned enough credits to qualify for benefits.” Huh? Obviously I was curious, so I opened it up, and sure enough, there was my earnings record. Going all the way back to 1989. It was amusing to note that my very annual tax filing was for less than I make in a month of unemployment now. Along with this info was a breakdown of how much money I’d be getting from social security after retiring, providing I manage to stay at my last recorded annual earning (not bloody likely).
When I first looked, I saw the figure and thought I can live on that if I had to. But then the really depressing thought came.That’s thirty seven years from now. I did some quick back checking in my head to seven years before I was born, you know, just to compare cost of living and inflation rates with today’s. It wasn’t pretty. Considering I’d have a hard time living on that amount today, there’s no way that is going to buy groceries, let alone everything else, by the time I can retire.
I’m actually better off becoming disabled and living off of that. No joke.
Now, I’ve always known that social security is going to be a joke by the time I’m ready to start collecting it, but seeing the actual numbers right in front of my face, in stark black and white, laughing at me… well, it sombered things up quite a bit. It’s like I’m glad they did it and pissed off at them all at the same time. “Thanks for letting me know how serious things are, so I start planning now”, vs “Where the hell you you get off ruining my nice happy lifestyle like that?”
I always joke about how I’m going to be that guy at Costco who checks your cart against the receipt to make sure you aren’t stealing (and they always take that job so seriously too). Now it looks like it may not be so much of a joke after all. Not unless I do something serious about it. I mean, I have an IRA, which unfortunately was no diversified very well so it’s practically worthless, but other than that I have no real nes eggs for the future. I’ve got a tiny bit of savings. The only thing I have going for me is the relatively small amount of credit card debt that I have (small compared to some anyway, by itself it doesn’t seem so small to me).
So something has to change. I need to win the lottery, I need to get a really well paying job and actually save some of the money I make, or I need to change my spending habits in a big way. The sad thing is that none of those seem very realistic. Hmmm. Suddenly a life of crime is sounding like more of a good thing. I’ll just make it white-collar crime, so that when I go to prison I at least stand a chance against the guy when he comes to ass-rape me while I’m in the shower.
Question: Do you worry about your future?