As someone who was born at the end of the Baby Boom and who's been paying into the Social Security system since I got my first McJob as a teenager in 1982, I'm worried that when it comes time for me to get my cut, there'll be nothing left. After all, according to USA Today, I'm one of 80 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 who could qualify for Social Security and Medicare in the next 22 years.
The first wave of Boomers broke into the Social Security system this week, when 62-year-old Kathleen Casey-Kirschling -- whose midnight birth on Jan. 1, 1946, makes her America's first Boomer -- signed on for benefits. This opened the floodgates for the 3.2 million citizens who hit the big 6-2 next year, making them eligible for early retirement. According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, the average age at which workers in this country start receiving Social Security is 63.
Those who've crunched all these numbers say that if this trend continues, Social Security rolls will increase by 34 million by 2030, and Medicare by 35 million. The Social Security trust fund will start paying out more benefits than it collects by 2017 and is projected to deplete its reserves by 2041.