BY DONNA WESTFALL
More than one-fifth of the US population receives Social Security benefits. That includes seniors, disabled, Federal retirees and more.
The annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) increased and that’s the reason for increasing monthly benefits by about $20 a month.
Gee, let’s see… did gas prices decrease? In some areas of the country it did, but apparently didn’t make it’s way into Del Norte County and thus many of us drive up to Brookings, Oregon to take advantage of lower gasoline prices and no sales tax. Did food prices decrease? For the most part, no. Have utility rates decreased. Sheesh – that’s a pipe dream.
Let’s remember that Social Security was only set up in 1965 By President Johnson as a safety net, not a retirement program. People were encouraged to save money and invest money and a lot of us did. But then what happened?
Those who invested in the stock market got to see their portfolio disappear Those who invested in real estate got to deal with foreclosures because the rents decreased, property values decreased and properties were now under water. Those who saved conservatively by keeping money in banks got to see interest rates drop to about 1%.
Bottom line, the middle class in the US is becoming non-existent. Lots of baby boomers are taking Social Security benefits as soon as they reach 62 years old. Even though Social Security was not set-up to be a retirement program, let’s face it, it’s the monthly income that keeps people alive.
And that’s something to be grateful for.