Have you checked the retirement fund lately? How about your blood pressure? If a new report is any indication, you'd better do both now and prepare to stay healthy and financially independent for the rest of your days. The government probably won't be picking up the slack if you're sick or light on funds in your golden years.

Two of the government's most popular programs for the elderly, Medicare and Social Security, will run out of money sooner than thought earlier as a slow-growing economy saps revenues, a report Friday said.

Trustees for the two funds said the Medicare trust fund is projected to exhaust its funds in 2024, not 2029 as estimated last year, and that the Social Security retirement program will run out of money in 2036, not 2037 as previously thought.

The latest projections hit in the middle of an intense debate between the Obama administration and opposition Republicans about how to rein in the nation's runaway debt, set to hit the legal limit of $14.3 trillion on Monday.


Pay attention to this debate and how your lawmakers weigh in on it. Minorities depend more on Social Security in their retirement years than their white counterparts (pdf) and are more likely to be in poor health when we're older.

In other news: Cervical Cancer: Preventable, but Killing Black Women.

Sheryl Huggins Salomon is senior editor-at-large of The Root and a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based editorial consultant. Follow her on Twitter.