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Turning 65, Then and Now

One thing is certain: It's a whole different world.

Boomers@65If you're part of the first crop of baby boomers turning 65 this year, you probably remember a time when you could smoke a cigarette anywhere you wanted, your health insurance plan covered any doctor you decided to see and the thought of wireless Internet access was a subject for science fiction.

Times have changed. Now that you're touching down in a brave new world, you're facing health and lifestyle challenges, a revolution in technology and the prospect of economic uncertainty as you head into your golden years.

Here's a look back at the way things were in 1980, when the parents of today's boomers began to retire, and today's new reality:

Then: You could retire at 65 with full Social Security benefits.
Now: The golden age is 66.

Then: There were 19.5 million retirees receiving an average of $905 a month, adjusted for inflation, from the Social Security Administration.
Now: 34.6 million retirees receive an average of $1,175 a month.

Then: You received an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) in your Social Security benefits and you could depend on that every year:
Now: There's a COLA freeze.

Then: Medicare didn't pay for prescription drugs.
Now: They're now covered under Part D with an extra fee.

Then: Medicare Part B premium was $23 a month, adjusted for inflation.
Now:
It was $96.40 in 2010.

Then: You could earn money in saving accounts because of double-digit interest rates.
Now: Rates are about as low as 1 percent.

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