Not that long ago, being ‘conservative’ meant avoiding unnecessary risk, being frugal, putting things aside in the present in order to reduce your vulnerability later on in life. Conservative political figures railed against short term fixes that they believed would only cost more or put us at risk in the long run. My oh my, how times have changed.
Representative Tom Garrett (R, Virginia) has introduced the Student Security Act as his contribution to ‘fixing’ Social Security’s problems, while providing debt relief for young people burdened with student loans. The legislation provides for a voluntary opportunity for people with student loans to get debt relief, by agreeing to delay their eligibility for starting Social Security, many years in the future. It even has a formula: For every $550 in debt relief, your eligible age is bumped back one month. That means $6600 dollars in debt forgiveness will cost you one full year of delayed Social Security. For those with $31,000 in student loan debt – the national average – complete debt relief today would mean delaying your Social Security eligibility by nearly five years. How’s that for preparing for your retirement?
This is a bad idea. Though it’s voluntary, think of the pressure so many people would feel to get debt forgiveness today, compared with the far-off consequences of delayed retirement. There are much better ways to deal with the $1.2 trillion dollars in student loan debt – which we’ll be discussing at our Millennial/Youth Summit on March 17th, and there are real fixes for Social Security’s pending problems, like the one we highlight here: