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How Social Security Works

Social Security in the United States is a form of legally mandated insurance designed to provide old age (retirement), disability and survivor benefits. Payroll taxes and self-employment taxes fund the system, in theory, based on the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). In reality, the system is running out of money, as a shrinking base of …

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Personal Safety

Personal safety is of special concern for the elderly since they are often quite vulnerable. Any workable retirement plan should include consideration of personal safety factors. For many elderly people in America, especially those who cannot afford to move out of high crime urban areas, crime, and the fear of crime, are constant realities. Creating …

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Politics and the Community

Organizations such as the AARP, Grey Panthers, Older Women’s League, Catholic Golden Age, and the National Alliance of Senior Citizens all lobby in Washington, DC for expanded rights and services (from government and business) for senior citizens. American senior citizens are also highly active in all kinds of volunteer and charity work. Probably two thirds of …

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Planning For Getting Older

The American federal government has several programs that assist the elderly, most notably Social Security and Medicare, covered later on in this chapter, but these are safety nets, hardly comparable with the array of services provided to the elderly in many other developed countries. Older people in America are subject to the risks and possibilities …

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How Medicare Works

Medicare is the primary federal health care program for people over age 65 or people under 65 with certain disabilities. It runs according to a set of complicated financial calculations, but, in essence, Medicare will pay most health-care costs in the case of catastrophic illness. Medicare is funded primarily from mandatory payroll and self-employment taxes …

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Where To Retire

America offers a wide choice in retirement locations. The first and most obvious choice is to continue living in the same place you’ve always lived. But large single family homes become too big after the children move out. A home and property may also become too expensive to maintain, or even too much trouble. The …

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Retirement and Aging in America

Growing Numbers of Elderly. Old age in America, as elsewhere, is inevitable unless you die young. There is no middle ground. The elderly (often called “senior citizens”) have only their longevity in common, otherwise they come from every ethnic and economic background. That said, they do act together to form a strong political force, which …

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Staying Healthy

There is no reason to think that just because a person becomes older, he or she must become resigned to chronic illness or a lifestyle revolving around doctors, hospitals and medications. It’s a basic truth that people who no longer work or who have changed careers under the easier circumstances of retirement have less work-related …

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New Careers and Education

One of the features of American life most advantageous to seniors is the opportunity to change careers or pursue new interests. Retired people with secure fixed incomes have the leeway to take jobs at lower salaries because the money is extra. The “fast-food” industry has traditionally employed teenagers at minimal wages. Due to the present …

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