Originally Posted by Rowdypea
But we can't pay into the system because we don't get paid for the work that we do.
Hypothetically, that could be changed. BUT, do you really want it to be is the real question?
For example, there could be a schedule that would determine your "worth" as a SAHM based on DPs salary, the area you live in, etc... Then, you could pay into the system at that rate for the years you stayed at home. For most people, though, it would probably not be worth it for a number of reasons, including (but not limited to):
1) Since you would not have a matching employer contribution, you would have to put in the full appx 15%.
2) Most SAHFamilies don't have that extra money just laying around--- if they did it would probably be better off fulling funding ROTH IRAs for both adults.
3) If you SAH long term, you will get benifits based on your partners level of pay--- if they are widely disparate it wouldn't "gain" you anything to pay into the system.
4) If meanwhile, you are only taking a few years off from a higher paid job, you wouldn't want your lower SAHM salary added into your years of earning.
On another topic--- your SS benifits are based upon earnings. It makes sense that people who have had less income have less expenses so saying you should be getting paid (eventually in SS) doesn't *really* make sense--- why should your income at retirement be based upon money you never actually had?
I think an obvious (unpalatable to most) situation is the following:
Remove the cap on SS taxes. It is currently capped around $90K. Any income should be taxed for SS (well, I actually would support the first $15K being untaxed because generally people earning under $15K yearly need every single penny).
Secondly, instead of considering it an individuals contribution, consider it a family contribution. If your family brings in $100K with 2 adults, you are both credited as $50K earners. Same for if your family earns $20K. (we would run into a problem on the lower end as you currently have to hit a "minimum" before you get the "credit"). These would be portable. If a couple was married 10 years w/one partner taking care of the home/children and they made $100K and then divorced--- each would take a record of $50K of earnings for those years to be figured into their lifelong average. If one partner died before retirement their family earnings would not magically "disappear." (This could be adjusted for widows/ers, etc...).