Social Security Anniversary – August 14, 1936
In a time when we wonder if Social Security benefits will be available for our children, I find it interesting to review the historic documents and “sales pitch” made to get Americans to take advantage of the Social Security benefits. Sometimes we forget that the depression/soup kitchen environment of our parents made the Social Security Administration a popular notion for supporting our aging Americans.
I strongly believe that we should act courageously to update the system for today’s economic times — this is NOT the America of 1936. The Act needs to be updated for the 2020’s and beyond!
This anniversary special is brought to you by your Seniors Real Estate Specialist,
“On August 14, 1935, the Social Security Act established a system of old-age benefits for workers, benefits for victims of industrial accidents, unemployment insurance, aid for dependent mothers and children, the blind, and the physically handicapped.”
Taken from the National Archives
Historic Social Security Facts – 1965
Historic Chicago Soup Kitchen
“During the Great Depression preceding the passage of the Social Security Act, “soup kitchens” provided the only meals some unemployed Americans had. This particular soup kitchen was sponsored by the Chicago gangster Al Capone.”
First Social Security Poster – 1936
This is a picture of a few of the hundreds of cardpunch operators SSA employed throughout the late 1930s and into the 1950s to maintain Social Security records in the days before the advent of computers.
Historic Photo – Signing the Social Security Act
August 14, 1936
1. Rep. Jere Cooper (D-TN). Cooper was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and would go on in subsequent years to become something of an expert on Social Security topics and he was a major force in Social Security legislative developments during the 1940s to the mid-1950s. Mr. Cooper also rose to the position of Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee during the Eighty-fourth and Eighty-fifth Congresses.
2. Rep. Claude Fuller (D-AR). Fuller was a member of the Ways & Means Committee and was generally opposed to the Administration’s bill. During Committee consideration he made motions seeking to strike key provisions of the legislation. But when his efforts failed, he compromised with the Administration and joined in voting for passage of the bill.
3 . Rep. Robert Doughton (D-NC) was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. As such he was the principal official sponsor of the legislation in the House.
4. Rep. Frank Buck (D-CA) was a second-generation industrialist and fruit grower from California. He was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, which had jurisdiction of the bill in the House. He graduated from Harvard Law School and served five terms in Congress, from 1933 until his death in 1942. (Representative Buck has often been misidentified in photos of the signing as being Edwin Witte. Witte, in fact, was not in the signing photographs.)
5. Rep. John Boehne, Jr.(D-IN) succeeded his father as a representative from Indiana. He was first swept into office in the 1932 elections with President Roosevelt and strongly supported FDR’s programs. At first, he was against the Social Security bill and wanted to exempt industrial employers with their own pension systems.
6 . Sen. Robert Wagner (D-NY) was born in Germany, immigrated to New York City, attended law school and was elected to the Senate in 1926. He served four terms. He was a close associate of Frances Perkins and helped draft several early New Deal measures. Wagner introduced the bill into the Senate. His son, Robert F. Wagner, was mayor of New York City for 16 years.
7 . Sen. Alben Barkley (D-KY) was a seven-term Congressman before being elected to the Senate in 1926. By 1937, he was Senate Majority Leader and a decade later, Vice President of the United States. He was an ardent New Dealer and helped shepherd the Social Security Act through the Senate. He argued for “a universal and uniform program in general.” He didn’t want to exempt certain private groups merely because they already had pension systems, as was proposed by some conservatives in the Congress.
8 . This individual is presently unknown.
9 . Sen. Robert LaFollette, Jr., (PROG-WI) was the eldest son of Robert LaFollette, a progressive Senator from Wisconsin and one-time presidential candidate. When his father died in 1925, Robert Jr., then only 30 years old, was appointed to succeed him. Initially elected as a Republican, LaFollette changed his party affiliation to the Progressive Party in 1934. LaFollette served on the House-Senate conference committee that drafted the final version of the Social Security bill. He served in the Senate until 1946, when he was defeated by Joseph McCarthy. In 1953, LaFollette committed suicide in Washington, D.C.
10 . Rep. John Dingell, Sr. (D-MI). Rep. Dingell was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. He was a prominent leader in Congress in sponsoring social insurance legislation and teamed with Senator Wagner he authored a couple of important precursor bills to the Social Security Act. (Several authors have identified Dingell as “unidentified man” in some versions of the signing photo.)
11. Sen. Augustine Lonergan (D-CT) was a native of Connecticut and a graduate of Yale University. Although he was a four-term Congressman, he served only one term in the Senate. During the discussions on the Social Security bill, Lonergan gave information about various private insurance annuities to show how they compared to the social insurance program that was being proposed.
12 . Frances Perkins was appointed Secretary of Labor in 1933, making her the first woman to hold a cabinet-level position. Like FDR, she was a child of privilege, but became a strong advocate for the poor and working class. She began her career in New York City as a social worker and held several responsible State government jobs. She served as head of Roosevelt’s Committee on Economic Security, set up in 1934. The Social Security legislation sprang from this committee.
13. Rep. Frank Crowther (R-NY) was a Republican member of the House Ways & Means Committee;
14. Sen. William H. King (D-UT). King was a conservative Democrat and member of the Senate Finance Committee. King expressed persistent opposition to many features of the bill as it was being considered, and his support of the legislation was in doubt until the last possible minute. In the end, he voted for passage of the Social Security Act. (Senators King and Harrison have often been confused in the signing photos, including,we are embarrassed to admit, in SSA’s own OASIS magazine. Clue: King has a bowtie, Harrison has a regular long tie.)
15. Rep. David J. Lewis (D-MD) was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee and was probably the leading expert on social insurance legislation on the Committee. It was Lewis, a former coal miner and self-taught lawyer, who introduced the Social Security bill into the House on January 17, 1935. However, Chairman Doughton, exercising what he took to be the Chairman’s privileges, made a copy of Lewis’ bill and submitted it himself. Then he persuaded the House clerk to give him a lower number than Lewis’ copy. Newspapers then began calling the bill “The Wagner-Doughton bill.” When Lewis found out, he sputtered and swore, then went to work to understand every sentence and master the arguments in favor of the bill. And when David Lewis walked down the aisle of the House to debate on the bill’s behalf, he received a standing ovation–a subtle rebuke to Chairman Doughton’s high-handed treatment.
16 . Sen. Byron Patton “Pat” Harrison (D-MS) was a Congressman for 8 years before being elected to the Senate in 1918. In his book “The Development of the Social Security Act,” Edwin Witte gives Harrison credit for his “adroit” handling of the Social Security bill in the Senate Finance Committee. According to Witte, Title II would not have been approved by the Committee without Sen. Harrison’s help. Harrison went on to serve in the Senate for the rest of his life and was elected President pro tempore 6 months before his death in June 1941. (In other versions of the signing photo, Sen. Harrison can be more clearly seen wearing a white suit and tie and holding his trademark cigar.)
17. Sen. Joseph Guffey (D-PA) was 65 years old at the time the Social Security Act was passed, although he was only a first-term Senator. From Pennsylvania, he served two terms before being defeated in 1946. His vote on the Social Security bill was in doubt until the final roll call.
18. Senator Edward Costigan (D-CO), a member of the Finance Committee.
19. Rep. Samuel B. Hill (D-WA) was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee.
20. Rep. Fred Vinson (D-KY) was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. He would go on to serve as Secretary of the Treasury and as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
21 . President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
NOTE: For more biographical information on any of the members of Congress see the U. S. Senate Biographical Directory of the United States Congress on the Senate website
Top 10 Things to Consider
when Choosing Senior Living Facilities
For those who are considering retirement communities instead of aging in place, Elizabeth O’Brien, in her NextAvenue article, recommends you do significant research, and beware the 10 things that these communities won’t tell you:
1. They’re hard to tell apart – there are “want-driven” active communities, and then there are the need-based facilities, with independent, assisted, and nursing care step-up programs.
2. There’s no “doctor in the house”.
3. Look beyond the fresh facade- e.g. what’s staff turnover like, what do the halls look like when it’s not “tour day?”,
4. Prepare for price increases and add-on services,
5. Realize that you may not be the ultimate decision-maker about when it’s time to move on – when you’re too frail to stay, they’ll give YOU notice!
6. Be careful not to become responsible for your parent’s bills (unless you’ve decided to take this on),
7. They prefer NOT to take Medicaid,
8. It’s hard to find TRUE quality ratings on these facilities- there’s not a great “Consumer Reports” or “Yelp!” for seniors (perhaps a new business venture?!)
9. Since “every night is “Saturday night”, STD rates are climbing at active senior developments- there’s more to do than just golf and bridge- just make sure to get regular health screenings!
10. Some of the fees may be tax-deductible – if they’re legitimate medical expenses, be sure to claim them on your tax returns.
This is not, of course, a comprehensive list. I think it’s a great article, however.
If you have other revelations to help find the perfect home for your aging parent, please leave your comments here.
For all issues relating to
senior real estate, aging in place, or
finding your empty-nester dream home, contact
Today was an empty-nester real estate day.
Empty Nester Buyers
I took clients out to look at condos — they’re thinking of selling their historic home to move into a vintage condo on Lake Shore Drive – probably in Lakeview. Here’s what we saw…
2920 N Commonwealth
1. 2920 Commonwealth – 3 bedroom right behind St Joseph’s –
- Lovely east view of Lake Michigan, if you don’t mind looking at the hospital parking lot
- Great condition, if you like the fake stone around the doorways- added to remind you of the original stone in the building
- Parking garage in the building, however it will be at least one year until the new owner gets to park in the building, since there aren’t as many parking spots as total units
2. 433 W Briar — Just south of Belmont and east of Sheridan Road — 2550 square feet
- Front of the building, but north facing unit can feel dark, especially on the 2nd floor
- Again, parking not available in the building
- Doesn’t have the grand feel of the Lake Shore Drive condos
3. 3500 N Lake Shore Drive 9D – co-op building 4 blocks north of Belmont
- East facing 3 bedroom unit- lovely views of Belmont Harbor
- Totally renovated with painstaking detail – to the point of removing, stripping, and replating hardware!
- Gracious unit – 2400 square feet, but one bedroom short for my clients
We’re going out again tomorrow — stay tuned!
Want to see what’s available in vintage condos and co-ops near Lake Michigan in Lakeview?
Empty Nester Sellers
At Mariano’s, I ran into one of my favorite clients, who sold her home to move into The Admiral.
She’s been there 2 years now, and reported that she’s thrilled that she made the move. This was particularly good to hear, given she’s one of those people who’s spry and young at heart – some might think she jumped the gun a bit.
The only thing she said she misses a bit is her kitchen – she did have a glorious Crown Point-high end kitchen!
Her advice to all – “Don’t die in your house! This is way too much fun!”
I truly enjoy seeing clients who are happy with the moves that they’ve made!!
Check out your choices for being an empty nester!
Get advice in helping your parents decide where to go next!
Baird & Warner
When we Chicago Seniors (and as I’m over 50, I have to include myself in this group!) enjoy a winter such as this one, when Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow (as he did yesterday), and when I see Facebook posts from far away Shangri-La destinations,
then the old question rings in my head…
Where are the best places to retire?
And how soon can I go there?!?!
Twenty years ago, when we were adopting Thomas from Costa Rica, Everyone was touting Costa Rica as THE place to go – no taxes on unearned income, tropical paradise, eco-adventures, great fishing and surfing…
La Paz Waterfall
We checked out a few places, but raising a family (and saving for college) was more important than purchasing land in a far away land.
We visited Costa Rica whenever we could, and we dreamed of the time when we’d launch our kids and move near beaches with Mojitos and Cabanas.
Retire Outside the U.S.
A recent article by Kathleen Peddicord in US News listed the best places to retire outside the United States – based on what’s most comfortable, affordable, convenient and rewarding for seniors.
Her top 5 Retirement Spots for Seniors:
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
4. Cuenca, Ecuador
3. Ambergris Caye, Belize
2. Languedoc, France
1. Coronado, Panama
Costa Rica was NOT one of them… Hmmm…
Read the entire article here – select this link
Follow Kathleen’s blog – Live and Invest Overseas for more on senior retirement outside the U.S.
Like Winter? Invest in a Ski Resort!
A recent article by Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine lists the top ski resort investment opportunities. Whitefish Mountain Resort in Whitefish, Montana leads the list.
The Top 5 Resorts:
5. Jackson, WY
4. Avon, CO
3. Vail, CO
2. Truckee, CA
1. Whitefish, MT
My Chicago Senior neighbor (and I mean senior – 76 years old!) – spends as much time in Steamboat Springs as he can, skiing away. When in Chicago, he teaches skiing at Wilmot. He was smart- he bought his ski retirement property a long time ago — when he was young. He’ll be skiing at least another 15 years, knowing him. Way to go, Joe — you’re my idol!!!
Not interested in owning, but an inexpensive vacation in a reasonably priced condo is appealing? Check out my brother’s condo in Winter Park, Colorado — ask for the “sister discount!”
See the entire list of ski resort investment recommendation by selecting this link.
Regardless of where,
Regardless of why,
Invest in Real Estate for Retirement!
1. Gain more leverage
2. Grow Tax-Free
3. Tax Free Cash-Flow
4. Tax Write-offs against other income
5. Rental Real Estate is a forced retirement plan
These 5 benefits are described in the recent article by Mark Kohler in Entrepeneur.
Where do Foreigners Invest?
Interestingly enough, of the top 6 places FOREIGN INVESTORS choose to purchase real estate, 5 are in the United States –
See the CNBC video and read the article here: Select this link
Other links of interest for Chicago Seniors thinking of retirement:
Where famous expert recommend you invest
Milken Institute’s Best Cities for Successful Aging
10 Best Small Cities to Retire In
10 Low-Cost Cities for Retirement
Top 10 REITs for 2014 — Select this link
Whatever stage of life you’re in,
when you need to evaluate your real estate holdings,
when you want to learn how much equity you have in your home(s),
your Chicago Senior Real Estate Specialist!
What’s important to you in moving to your retirement home?
Are you thinking about buying your “empty-nester” home but you don’t know how to decide where to go?
Retirement Relocation Checklist
Prioritize and decide where to go!
The recent article by Dave Bernard in US News and World Report‘s Retirement section lists the following categories that seniors should consider:
Should you live near an expert in a particular health field? Or simply, where can you rely on a quick response time from the EMT, taking you to a nearby trauma facility?
Big cities offer symphony, museums, restaurants. and theater, however college towns are booming – many seniors are finding them to have the perfect mix of smaller town while offering terrific cultural options.
Fellow Drake trustee and Newton, Iowa native, Don Byers, answered my husband’s question about retirement this way: “Why would I leave the friends and neighbors I’ve enjoyed my whole life?” To Don, good neighbors were his primary criteria for staying local in retirement.
Milder climates have been the goal for many seniors – if you relax in warmer weather, then your move south won’t be unique!
How are you going to get to the doctor, the store, or your friends when you no longer want to drive?
Obviously, it makes sense to live where it’s cheaper – when seniors retire and they don’t have to live where their job is (they’re retired!), it makes sense to go where homes, food, and taxes are cheaper.
- Proximity to What you Like Best
If you revel in sunrise at the beach, you wake up invigorated to hike mountain trails, or scenic mountain views inspire the artist in you — then go there!
Do you want maintenance-free condo life or is tinkering in the garden your heart’s desire? Would you prefer to live in a sprawling ranch or a cozy bungalow?
Obviously, the answers to these questions vary for all seniors. As you consider where you’re going, answer these questions, then weight each one as to how important that question is to the overall picture.
Don Byers obviously preferred neighbors to warm climates and public transportation. Others might place greater emphasis on beaches and warm weather.
Whatever you choose – if you are true to yourself, you’ll make the right decision!
What Retirement Area are you Interested in?
Let Anne Rossley put you in touch with the best real estate agent – wherever that is!
Find professionals to answer your questions about local amenities, housing options, and lifestyle…
Anne Rossley, CRB, CRS, SRES
Baird & Warner
Anne is a Senior Real Estate Specialist who loves helping 50+ buyers and sellers!
Dave Bernard’s article