Newsletter of the Needham Rotary Club for April 1st, 2022
Recent Events: Tuesday March 29th, Flowers for the Elderly (Briarwood photo below)
Needham Rotary Club delivered spring flowers to elderly residents of nursing homes in Needham.
Mark Your Calendar, Upcoming Events:
  • Saturday, April 23rd, Earth Day Cleanup: Kathy is looking for volunteers to join her in a cleanup project.
  • Tuesday May 17th from 5-7pm, Wine and Beer Tasting at Bin Ends, 65 Crawford St., Needham. No zoom meeting at noon today.
  • Tuesday, June 14th: Needham Rotary Club Picnic at Clayton Field at 5:30. Bring your own everything. No zoom meeting at noon today.
Recent Speakers: 1) Nancy Sterling (left photo) and Ellen Dudley (middle photo) from NeedhanCAN; and 2) Kurt Czarnowski, Czarnowski Consulting on Social Security
Nancy Sterling and Ellen Dudley, Co-Presidents of Needham Community Action Network (Needham CAN), addressed us on March 15th. Their organization gathered as the Senior Center arose 10 years ago around the notion that there should be a Community Center for Needham residents of all ages, but especially for teens not involved sports or performing arts. They advocated successfully for the renovation of Rosemary Pool, and they continue to work for a new community center with a broader mandate. They have a website under development: http://www.needhamcan.org, where you can sign a petition in support of a new community center.
Kurt Czarnowski addressed us on March 22nd on "Social Security and Retirement Planning: A Hit or Myth Proposition". Kurt was the Regional Communications Director for the Social Security Administration in New England for 19 years until retiring in 2010. Afterwards, he founded a retirement planning firm, Czarnowski Consulting. Every month, Social Security pays 65 million people $99 billion of benefits; the average monthly benefit paid is $1,650, aggregating $19,800 per year. Kurt tells us that that amount was never intended to be sufficient to live on, rather, it's a base of income around which to plan additional retirement resources. What you collect is directly proportional to what you contribute to the system  via the payroll tax (currently 6.2% on income up to $142,800; if self-employed it's 12.4%) over your worklife. Remember that this is a pay-as-you go system: your estimated benefit is not invested in an account dedicated to you. Your estimated benefit is based on the monthly average of your highest 35 years of pay. You'll receive 100% of your estimated benefit once you reach "full retirement age", which is 66.5 years old for those of us turning 65 this year. While you can collect as soon as you reach 62 years old, your benefit will be reduced to about 70% of your full retirement age benefit. You can delay collection up to age 70, which results in an increase in your benefit payment to about 124% of your full retirement benefit. 
Kurt discussed spousal benefits and how they change after divorce or death. He discussed the tax treatment of benefits and post-retirement labor income. There are many intricacies. For more information, there's the Social Security website: http://www.socialsecurity.gov, and Kurt's website: http://www.czarnowskiconsulting.com. In Q/A, Kurt addressed the solvency of the system. He pointed out the the Trustees of Social Security report annually on the solvency of the system. Their forecast shows that the system can cover 100% of benefits through 2034 and 78% for the 75 years thereafter. Because it's a pay-as-you-go system, to provide sufficient funds you could: 1) increase the payroll tax or 2) decrease payments to retirees. The first solution disproportionately impacts younger workers, the second disproportionately impacts older workers. Instead, we've been addressing the solvency problem by steadily increasing early and full retirement age.
Our Next (Zoom) Meeting: Tuesday, April 5th at noon, Roy Balfour on Rotary's efforts in support of the Ukrainian people.