Social Insecurity

My favorite time of the year is when I get that statement from the Social Security Administration telling me how much money I have made each year. I’m less interested in how much I made last year as I am years ago.
1969 – $529: seven months as a page at the Binghamton Public Library
1970 – $102: I have no idea
1971 – $3,371: six months working at IBM before I went to college. This would be the most money I would make until 1978. I made enough to pay for my college expenses and to lend my parents $1500 for the down payment on a house. Tuition was cheap, and I had a Regents scholarship to SUNY New Paltz.
I worked odd jobs during college, making as much as $2,661 in 1975 and $50 – $50? in 1976.
1978 – $7,434: I was a teller for the Albany Savings Bank for one month, where I was making $6,000 a year, less than what I had in my drawer on state paydays, before I quit to work for the Schenectady Arts Council, at $8,400/year. Unfortunately, that CETA job ended early in 1979.
Then from 1980-1988, I could see my pay progress at FantaCo in Albany, only to drop back in 1989, when I worked for Empire Blue Cross. I mention this specifically because there were some people at the time who thought I was crazy to work at a “funny book” store, but I was making more money there than the “respectable” insurance company, thank you.
I’ve been working my current job since 1992, and the thing particularly of interest is how much putting aside money for health costs alters the bottom line.

Oh, the other interesting thing on this SSA form is my estimated benefits if I retire at 62, 66 or 70. Especially heartening is this little caveat: “The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2037, the payroll taxes will be enough to pay only about 76 percent of scheduled benefits.” Of course, I have a five-year old; I’ll NEVER retire.

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