You’d think a woman could have a birthday in peace. But no-o-o-o, that would be too easy. When a birthday comes around, there’s a mandatory period of wrinkle examining, soul searching, and actuarial-table reading.
You see, this is the year I turn 62 and am eligible for early-claim Social Security. After watching F.I.C.A. taxes being taken out of my paycheck for over 45 years (including the jobs I had during high school and college), my only goal is to live long enough to recoup those deductions. (In other words, I want my money back.)
According to the Charles Schwab website, I will need to live until I’m 76.4 years old to get back all I paid in to Social Security. After that, if I had a shred of decency, in January of 2027, I’d lie down and die so that there would be something left in the Social Security coffers for the next generation.
I’ll do my best to kick off at 76.4 years. But I had a grandmother who lived to 101, a father who lived until he was 93, and my mother is still ticking along at 91. It looks like chances are excellent that—against my own personal moral sense of right and wrong—I’ll end up being a burden to the Social Security system.
So even though I will likely still be alive in 2027, I will feel tremendous guilt about it as I steal from my children’s generation and drain the Social Security coffers dry.
Having a 62nd birthday is also an impetus to re-check my Lifetime Bucket List and see how I am coming along.
I started out with 38 items on the list; I have accomplished 6 of those goals. One item had to be crossed off because it’s too late (“Go to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver”) . . . oops, sorry, Bucket List. But another one is already scheduled for September of 2011 (“Go on a New England/Canadian trip up the east coast past Maine, New Foundland, down the St. Lawrence River, and end up in Quebec City where we will wander out in the countryside and find Tom’s roots.”).
After that, only 30 Bucket List items to go. I promise I won’t use a dime of my ill-gotten, grandchildren-robbing, anti-American Social Security checks beyond the age of 76.4 to accomplish any of those tasks. Cross my heart and hope to die (figuratively, that is).