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Alfred E. Neuman might need to worry -- about Social Security

Alfred E. Neuman.

Right about now you’re thinking. Alfred E. Neuman? He’s not even a real person.

True. He was dreamed up by Mad Magazine in 1954, with big ears, a gap-toothed grin, and an unforgettable theme song.

He sang, “What, me worry? I don’t even care.”   

Ah, but should he care? 

Holly Kylen is a financial adviser at ING Financial Partners*. She says, “Alfred needs to worry.”

After all, Kylen says, Neuman turns 59 in November.

“He needs to stop and take inventory and say, holy crap," she says. "This may not work the way I thought it was going to work.”

Kylen says no one really knows how things will work if the Social Security trust funds run out of money. The government says the checks would still come. But they would be about 25 percent smaller.

Charles Campbell is with Eagle Financial Publications. He says Neuman, and everybody else, should start setting aside one or two percent more of their paychecks toward retirement.

He explains, “It’s a difference of you living in Florida in a nice retirement place as opposed to working as a greeter at Walmart because you didn’t save properly for your retirement.”  

Stuart Ritter is a financial planner for T Rowe Price. He says Neuman doesn’t have to freak out. He just has to save that little bit extra.

“If he takes some small steps to make sure he has more money than he otherwise would then no, he doesn’t have to worry,” Ritter says.

Cue the Neuman song.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified ING Financial Partners. The text has been corrected. 

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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Why are the things people pay into, Medicare & Social Security branded as evil entitlements which cause serious economic problems? These programs are no more the cause of economic problems than vaccines cause autism. If the cap on payments into social security and medicare were not capped, there would be no issue with either, ever. Instead, the very well off pay a smaller % of their income to these programs than those who need them most.

This country has to reassert the equality under the law principles that gave us so many years of economic stability. The shift of money to fewer and fewer people is creating a very large underclass that, because it cannot purchase or invest, is destabilizing the economy for everyone. The moral imperative that we take care of each other has disappeared. Corporations that derailed a national health care programs and a government run retirement programs presented in the 1960s, now claim to be put upon for both health care and retirement benefits. So they get out of their obligation to both.

The only capital most people have is their labor. If there's no return on that, then there will be more and more destitute old people in this country. People like me, who have done everything right, find that through no fault of our own, we will be poor at 65, and quite possibly among the working poor until we die.

In spite of your diligent efforts, you unfortunately miscalculated Alfred E. Neuman's age; although he commenced his public life in 1954, he was obviously at that point in time about 9 years of age--just like myself, he was actually born in 1945 which would make him either 67 or 68. James K. Riley, Esq, C.F.P (r), A.E.P., Pearl River, NY and Montvale, N.J.

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