Why Girls Should Care About Social Security

by Barbara Nevins Taylor

I love HBO’s Girls. It’s embarrassing. My legs shake and I cringe, squirm and cover my mouth with my hand when I watch. The girls remind me of me in my twenties. Their flailing recklessness mirrors my behavior and frequent despair so many years ago. I gave little thought to the future. Life was a day-to-day negotiation that had a lot to do with sex and figuring out how to make a living and maybe turning a job into a career.

If someone told me then that I’d be thinking about Social Security today I would have laughed. But I not only think about it, I worry.

The Social Security Trust Fund will run out of money in 2033 and that means it will only pay out 75 percent of each person’s benefits.  Without getting hysterical here, this is important for all “girls.” Even the youngest, most cavalier should worry about what happens.

 Girls and Old Ladies

Sorry to say, but girls turn into old ladies and statistically, we’re likely to be on our own journey when we need Social Security. We live longer then men and we often exhaust savings and other assets.  Even those women who have some money count on Social Security as a big part of a support system. In 2010, Social Security represented 63 percent of the income of an 80-year-old woman.

Extra Benefits

Many older women today receive benefits as wives or widows. But younger women — you know who you are — aren’t marrying, or are likely to have shorter marriages that end in divorce. This eliminates that bonus payment from a husband, or reduces it significantly.

Of course, many in the current Girls generation will get traction, build a career and make money.

You’ll pay into Social Security and that’s why you need to pay attention now. By 2033, unless there are adjustments, remember they’ll only be able to pay about 75 percent of what you should receive.

That’s why it’s important for all of us to zone in on what Congress does. There’s a push to change the formula for cost of living increases and that might save the system money for the future.

But there are also those who want to privatize Social Security and they don’t seem to have the interests of real people at heart.

Who is in charge

Just FYI, it’s the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance in the Senate that oversee Social Security.  Look up the players and stay on top of what these legislators are doing, or not doing.

It matters.

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.