Eliminating Social Security for City Workers

This week, VoiceofSanDiego.org posted the story; How One Person Could Determine City’s Social Security Future. Immediately, I knew this “either, or” proposed remedy to San Diego’s pension issue is NOT a road we should drive down.

Social Security was always intended to be one leg of a three-legged stool from a retirement perspective. The other two legs being pension and private savings/investments. In 2011, far too many Americans are attempting to stand on one-leg only — Social Security.

The reality is that pensions are out of the retirement equation for most workers. But two legs are better than one (or potentially none). Workers need social security and must take personal responsibility for private savings if they are to have a comfortable retirement.

On a daily basis at Senior Community Centers, I see seniors struggling to get by on social security alone (average payment $850/month). With it they are living in poverty; without it they would be destitute on the streets or worse.

Eliminating social security for City workers sets up the “worse” scenario if they make poor investment choices with their 401k. What happens then? As a community do we say “tough luck” to a former fire fighter as she sleeps behind a dumpster. I think we are better than that.

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