Talk of Social Security drying up within the next 20 years may have politicians breaking a sweat across the nation, but here in Charleston many people said the discouraging news doesn’t come as a shock, and they’re taking steps to avoid dependence on the program to begin with. Here’s how some locals thought they’d be affected if funds that support Social Security run out in 2033, as officials predict.
Alex Hollar, a 41-year-old flight attendant from West Ashley, said she isn’t largely concerned with the Social Security debate, and doesn’t expect she’ll be dependent on it 20 years from now.
“It’s a concern but it’s not something that really keeps me up at night,” Hollar said. “It’s not surprising that it might not be there around the time I’m thinking of retiring. I mean, the way we’re spending money, and we’re so in debt. It’s definitely disconcerting, but not surprising.”
Coury Clements, a 38-year-old nurse from West Ashley, said he wishes more people would save for themselves, instead of hoping for Social Security.
“I’ve always thought I won’t have Social Security when I grow up,” Clements said. “I don’t think there’s any politician that has the guts to fix it, and I don’t think the general masses are willing to let it get fixed. I just wish more people would save because at this point they’re going to be in trouble if they’re waiting for Social Security.”
Hunter Candela, 24, moved to Charleston with hopes of finding a job. Any concern about Social Security is a ways off, Candela said while filling out thank-you messages for recent interviews.
“I don’t really think about it. When you finance 100 percent of your school loans, you’re just happy to have a job.”
Jermaine Euland, 26, of Charleston said as an entrepreneur he hopes to make enough money of his own that he won’t have to depend on Social Security later down the road.
“Why should the state take care of you?”
Martha Smith, a 61-year-old administrative assistant from Ravenel, said she’s planning on applying for Social Security when she turns 62, despite the negative predictions.
“I’ve done put what I can put into it, and I’m going to get my share,” Smith said. “Personally, I don’t believe (it won’t be there). That’s just politics. They’ll say anything just to sway you to go into what they want you to go into,” Smith said. “I think I heard this before many years ago when my mom was on it. That was probably 20 years ago, and it’s still here. I think it’s just a bunch of shenanigans.”
David Grant, 77, a retired writer of Charleston, said he’s taken precautions to avoid depending on Social Security, and he isn’t greatly concerned about what the future holds for the program.
“I think there’s time to correct the situation,” Grant said. “I think a good Congress will correct it. I think there will have to be some taxation increases, and I think Congress is going to have to stop borrowing from the Social Security fund.”
Derick Siebert, 51, of Charleston said depending on Social Security isn’t in his plan.
“Social Security is a safety net. That’s the first problem. I’m not depending on that,” Siebert said. “As an entrepreneur and a businessman for 25 years, I’ve always believed in paying for production. Social Security is a safety net for when I’m 75 years old and don’t have the ability to do anything else, but to be living on Social Security at a young age, I just think that’s wrong.”
Ed Wilson, 40, of Hollywood works as an automotive technician in West Ashley. He said he doesn’t have any savings, and he would need Social Security to help make ends meet after retirement.
“With the economy, bills eat up every bit of my paycheck. I just bought a house, so I have a 30-year mortgage, so it’s definitely on my mind,” Wilson said.
“I know when Social Security first came out, people weren’t living to be 90 years old like they are now. I got a Social Security statement in the mail last week and it said if I waited until I was 67 I’d make $1,300 a month, and I couldn’t live off that.”
compiled by By Christina Elmore