Rich Tucker

Everyone wants to retire at 50. Well, I?ve got a plan that will allow me to do just that. You might want to write this down and try it yourself.

First, determine how much money you?ll need to live on in 2018. In my case, the house should be almost paid for and the children should be almost out of it. Inflation is a wild card, but I assumed that $50,000 would be enough to see me comfortably through the year. After all, I want to have enough to travel and enjoy myself. So I wrote myself an I.O.U.

?Dear Rich: I promise to pay you the sum of $50,000 on Jan. 1, 2018.
(signed) Rich Tucker.?

That piece of paper is now stored in a safe, along with other vital documents (passports, house deed, car title). I?ll do the same thing once a year each year until 2018. This plan should carry me comfortably through 2032.

There. Retirement planned for.

Of course, I?m no fool. I?m already anticipating that the cost of living is going to go up every year. So, every year from now on, I?ll add a generous cost of living increase to my annual I.O.U. Say, $2,000 per year. So next year, when I write myself a note for Jan. 1, 2019, it?ll be for $52,000. And so on until I actually retire.

See any problems with my scheme? It really seems flawless. After all, I wouldn?t lie to myself. If I?ve vowed to pay myself $50,000, well, I?m going to do it. No matter how hard or long I have to work in 2018 to earn that retirement money.

This is exactly how the U.S. government is preparing for everyone?s retirement. Social Security is the national retirement plan. But, starting in 2018, there?s nothing there but I.O.U.s.

That?s probably not what you?ve heard. Various reports claim Social Security is safe and secure. In their annual report this year, the program?s trustees insisted it would be able to pay benefits through 2042. A recent Congressional Budget Office report is even more optimistic. It says Social Security is solid through 2052.

But these reports pretend there is money in the Social Security trust fund, which actually is all trust and no fund.

The fact is, Social Security is ?pay as you go.? It always has been. That means it relies on today?s taxpayers to pay today?s benefits. Which works well as long as there are more taxpayers than beneficiaries. Indeed, for years we?ve been taking in more than we?ve been paying out. The extra money is supposed to go into that trust fund. It doesn?t.

Instead, the Treasury spends the difference on roads, sex-education programs, parks and whatever else the federal government buys. The trust fund gets an I.O.U., which is stored in a fireproof safe to be made good some day with future tax money.

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for