Bruce Schobel, president-elect of the American Academy of Actuaries, is calling for immediate efforts to increase the normal Social Security retirement age.
The sooner policymakers act to reform Social Security, the more options they will have, and the more moderate solutions can be, Schobel says.
“Demographic problems require demographic solutions,” Schobel says in a statement distributed by the AAA, Washington. “You just cannot have people living longer and longer with a frozen retirement age. At some point, the system cannot afford it.”
The AAA released the statement in response to the release earlier this week of the 2009 Social Security trustees’ report.
The trustees now project that, because of the effects of the recession on payroll taxes, the trust fund will run dry in 2037. In 2008, the trustees were projecting the trust fund would be depleted in 2041.
But Schobel says the fundamental factor threatening Social Security solvency is the increased average lifespan.
Social Security Administration actuaries estimated in 2008 that a typical 65-year-old male will live about 16.9 more years, up from 11.9 more years in 1940, and that a typical 65-year-old female will live 19.3 more years, up from 13.4 more years.
The SSA actuaries’ projections show life expectancy at age 65 could continue to increase, Schobel says.
“There are many options available to policymakers, and as actuaries, we believe that increasing the retirement age should be a part of any solution,” Schobel says.