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I’m 28. I’m actively planning for my retirement, as I have a 401(k) plan and a Roth IRA. Is it safe to say Social Security will be nonexistent when I’m in my late 60s?


I understand your cynicism. There’s a lot of it going around, particularly among people in their 20s who have had scant evidence through their adult lives that leaders in Washington can do anything but insult one another and blow up the fiscal deficit. Still, I wouldn’t write off Social Security so fast because things have a way of going in cycles, especially when they involve finance and economics. The retirement age will almost certainly have to rise, which is only fair because people are living so much longer, but I have a feeling that Social Security or something like it will be around in four decades or so. In your case, though, it probably won’t matter. If you’re saving so diligently already and you keep it up for 30 to 40 years, there’s a good chance that the income you draw from your retirement fund will dwarf whatever payments you get from Social Security. Doing the right thing, as you are, is a great way to immunize yourself and your money from the harm caused by all those other people who are doing the wrong thing.
-Conrad de Aenlle