Monday, November 21, 2005


A Couple of Items

I received my Social Security statement today, full of doom and gloom it is: "In just 12 years, we will begin paying more in benefits than we collect in taxes. Without changes, by 2041 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted....At that point , there will be enough money to pay only about 74 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits."

And all of this was on the front page, once I read further I discovered that at my current earnings rate, at age 62 my monthly payment would be $1005. They arrive at this number by assuming I'll continue to work and make about the same as I did in 2003 or 2004. First off that dollar amount is depressing, it barely covers my rent. Secondly, it seems kind of rude to assume my earnings rate will stay the same. But the notice does go on to list several reasons why they can't provide my actual benefit amount. My question is then why bother estimating it at all? The last page is full of cheerful information on death, disability, survivors, and the disadvantages of early retirement. Can I get off this mailing list????

My second item is about taxes, which I know are necessary because they support infrastructure, government etc. I was on Bankrate's website and looked up tax rates for each state, I was surprised at how many different sales tax rates are out there. Ranging from 0 to 7%, there are 16 different state sales tax rates. The average rate for all 50 states plus DC was 4.83%, my state's actual rate was one of the higher ones at 6.5%, then when you add on your city taxes, I pay 8.8% sales tax in Seattle. UNLESS!!! If I am eating out, the tax rate jumps to 9.2%. This extra tax is to pay for our baseball stadium. Hotels, motels and restaurants get to charge a higher tax rate to help pay for the stadium. Because theoretically if you are staying at a hotel and eating out, then you must be in town for the sole reason of seeing a baseball game.

The moral of this post is, start saving for your retirement at birth if possible!!! And we should all move to South Dakota or Wyoming where the sales tax is only 4% and there is no state income tax.


Blogger Tiredbuthappy said...

I always devour my social security statement, too. It's sort of sad: I think of it as a distress flare from the scene of a really gory accident.

5:55 PM  

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