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    San Francisco, CA

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  • This is an interesting question. A lot of your personal payments would depend on your earnings history, when you retire, whether you are married or not, how long you expect to live and more.

    The simple answer to your question is that most people get a lot more back out from Social Security than they put in. However, that ratio is getting worse and critics point out that if you were to earn a greater than 2 percent interest rate on your Social Security savings then you might actually do better saving your own money than paying into Social Security.

    In 2011, The Urban Institute, a Washington-based think tank published the report, "Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Benefits Over a Lifetime." It has some very detailed analyses about what people put into Social Security and Medicare and what they get out now, in the past and in the future:

    To summarize their findings, here is how Social Security and Expected Medicare Benefits and Taxes for Average-Wage, Two earner couples is changing over time:

    -- In 1960 the average couple received approximately $250,000 from Social Security and $50,000 from Medicare (benefits totaling $297,000). They only paid in a total of $36,000 to Social Security.

    -- In 1980 the average couple received approximately $450,000 from Social Security and $150,000 from Medicare (benefits totaling $595,000). They paid in a total of $209,000 -- mostly in Social Security taxes -- very little was paid to Medicare at that time.

    -- In 2010 the average couple is expected to receive approximately $550,000 in Social Security Benefits and $350,000 in Medicare benefits (benefits totaling $906,000). This couple paid in almost $600,000 to Social Security and $100,000 to Medicare (taxes totaling $704,000).

    -- In 2030 it is expected that the average couple will receive $1,226,000 in benefits and pay in $971,000.

    -- The Urban Institute Report has a wealth of information on this subject.

    -- Your Personal Social Security Break Even Age: You might be interested in calculating your own Social Security break even age. Our Social Security Calculator will help you determine when might be the bet time for you to take benefits.

  • Login to rate this answer:   Answered on 11/8/2012
**All above answers are provided as general information only. No warranty is made regarding the fitness or accuracy of the information provided in this answer. You should seek advice from a licensed CPA, attorney or CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ as to your unique financial situation.