Friday, September 21, 2007

The Boomer Panic on Social Security Begins

Remember The Andy Griffith Show, with Sheriff Andy Taylor, Aunt Bea, Opie and Deputy Barney Fife?

Remember that Mayberry was an imaginary town in rural North Carolina somewhere?

In truth, Mayberry was modeled after a real place in North Carolina -- a nice little town known as Mount Airy, Andy Griffith's real home town.

And it's The Mount Airy News that gets our award for breaking the first story about the "run on Social Security offices" because the first Boomers start turning 62 on January 1, 2008.

Talk about making a "mount"-ain out of a molehill (sorry, couldn't resist)!

Some facts for the intrepid reporter (and any others to follow this path):

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 2,865,418 people age 61 in the U.S. in 2007.
  • There are 2,699,468 people age 62 (this year's batch storming the local Social Security offices).
  • The difference is 6%. Not exactly a "tsunami" flooding the streets.

On top of that, practically every survey ever done reports that Boomers do not plan to retire in droves, the second they reach some magic age. In fact, AARP just this week released a survey among workers over 50 and only 21% said they plan to stop working altogether by age 65.

So maybe the Mount Airy Social Security office can breathe easier knowing there really won't be a mad rush of 78 million Boomers come January 1st.

Of course, that gives Boomers more time to get comfortable with using those new-fangled computer things to apply for benefits online, according to the article (what!?!):

In advocating the agency's approach of steering people to the World Wide Web, [Tom] Bachmann [manager of the Mount Airy office of the Social Security Administration (on N. Andy Griffith Parkway)] admits that it's “not the easiest application in the world.” But it basically involves “yes” or “no” answers, he said. “As long as you're careful and pay attention, it works very well.”And the best part is “you don't have to wait in line,” Bachmann said.

Once the Social Security Web site is accessed, applicants can look to the left side of the homepage for a link to “Apply for benefits.”

“The Web site is there,” said Bachmann, “and if you're comfortable using it, we're all for it.”

Somebody shoot us. I mean, doesn't everyone know Boomers invented computers and the Internet?

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