Social Security beneficiaries retiring in 2012 and later are in for a rude surprise. Your return on investment is the same as if you had buried your money in the back yard or stuffed it in a mattress.
Lifetime Social Security taxes and benefits for people turning 65 in different decades. The lifetime value of taxes is based on the value of accumulated taxes paid, as if those taxes were put into an account that earned an annual 2 percent interest rate, plus inflation. The examples are for a married couple in which both spouses earned average wages ($43,500 in 2011). Projected benefits assume that both spouses have average life spans after turning 65. Want more benefits? Live longer.
If you turned 65 in 1960:
Lifetime Social Security benefits: $259,000.
Lifetime Social Security taxes: $36,000.
If you turned 65 in 1980:
Lifetime benefits: $452,000.
Lifetime taxes: $192,000.
If you turned 65 in 2010:
Lifetime benefits: $555,000.
Lifetime taxes: $588,000.
If you turn 65 in 2030:
Lifetime benefits: $699,000.
Lifetime taxes: $796,000.
In 1960, a 65-year-old woman could expect to live 16 more years, on average, and a 65-year-old man could expect to live 13 more years. In 2030, a 65-year-old woman could expect to live 21 more years, on average, and a 65-year-old man could expect to live 19 more years.