2011-11-16 / Columns

Most superheros are now at retirement age

By JANIE FRAZIER Social Security Manager in Hazard KY

Some of the strongest and most youthful superheroes to jump from the pages of comic books to the silver screen in recent years are old enough to be receiving full Social Security retirement benefits. Whether standing before

• On Nov. 28, 1582, William Shakespeare, 18, and Anne Hathaway, 26, pay a 40-pound bond for their marriage license in Stratford-upon-Avon. Six months later, Anne gave birth to their daughter, Susanna, and two years later, to twins. Shakespeare’s plays were not published until after his death, when two members of his troupe collected copies of his plays and printed the First Folio (1623).

• On Dec. 4, 1928, “Dapper Dan” Hogan, a St. Paul, Minn., saloonkeeper and mob boss, is killed when someone plants a car bomb under the floorboards of his new Paige coupe. The first car bomb was a horsedrawn wagon bomb that exploded in 1920 outside the J.P. Morgan Company’s offices in New York City.

• On Nov. 29, 1942, coffee joins the list of items rationed in the United States. Rationing was generally employed to guarantee a fair distribution to all citizens and to give priority to military use in World War II.

• On Dec. 2, 1959, the Malpasset Dam in France collapses after a week-long rain storm, and the resulting flood kills more than 400 people. The city of Frejus, built by Roman Emperor Julius Caesar as a port city on the French Riviera, was devastated by the massive flood.

• On Dec. 3, 1979, 11 people are killed in a stampede outside a Who concert in Cincinnati when a crowd of general-admission ticket holders surges forward through shattered doors in an attempt to secure prime unreserved seats inside. After the crowd cleared, 11 concert-goers were found on the ground, dead from asphyxiation.

• On Nov. 30, 1989, Aileen Wuornos, America’s first female serial killer, picks up her first victim in Palm Harbor, Fla. She would kill a total of seven men in the next year. When caught, Wuornos confessed but claimed that they had all been killed in self-defense.

• On Dec. 1, 1990, workers 132 feet below the English Channel drill through a final wall of rock, opening the “Chunnel” and connecting the two ends of an underwater tunnel linking Folkestone, England, and Calais, France. the bat-computer or going online at the fortress of solitude, these guys were certainly wise enough to apply for retirement benefits at www.socialsecurity. gov.

Superman may be America’s most popular superhero, and also the oldest to hit the screen in recent years. The man of steel was created in 1932. The guy’s 79 years old and he has a new movie coming out in 2012. Superman does mostly volunteer work, but even if he earns wages as Clark Kent, his benefits won’t be offset since he reached his full retirement age.

Batman made his debut in 1939, and he’s about to star in another feature film, running around like a 30-year-old. Also in his 70s, Mr. Wayne is getting full retirement benefits — and Robin too. The same can’t be said for the Joker or Penguin; you can’t collect benefits while you’re in prison.

The Green Lantern and Captain America made their silver screen debuts this year. They were “born” in 1940 and 1941, and also are of retirement age. One would expect Captain America to look a little more like Uncle Sam these days, but as is true with many Social Security retirees today, staying active keeps him young.

For the “silver age” of comic book heroes, retirement isn’t quite here yet. Spider-Man slung his first web in 1962, the same year the incredible Hulk burst into being. Iron Man and the X-Men first appeared in 1963. They may not be ready to retire just yet, but it’s a good time for them to take a look at the online Retirement Estimator, where they can get an instant, personalized estimate of future retirement benefits. Come to think of it, if the Hulk or any of the X- Men ever get severely injured, they may qualify for disability benefits through Social Security. The place to go for more information is www.socialsecurity.gov.

Ask any of these superheroes about retirement plans, and you’re likely to get an earful. They won’t be sitting around — they’ll be staying active even as they collect retirement benefits. You don’t have to have a bat-computer or be a superhero to harness the power of the Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator, or to apply online for benefits at www.socialsecurity. gov. Up, up, and away into an active retirement!

Return to top