7/22/16

Will Social Security Cease to Exist?

The future of Social Security is frequently discussed and debated among Americans young and old. Perceptions about the future of Social Security are heavily aligned with how far you are from retirement. Older Americans tend to believe that there will be Social Security available for them when they retire, while millennials are generally pessimistic about its existence when they retire. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 51% of millennials believe Social Security will be entirely extinct by the time they retire and only 6% of millennials expect current benefits to be there for them at age 67.

Many people are scared that Social Security benefits will no longer be available to them by the time they retire. While this outcome is certainly possible, the reality is that Social Security will not likely be left to vanish completely without any government interference. It is more likely that benefits will be paid in a lesser amount or that a new government-sponsored retirement plan will fill in the gap.

In a recent annual trustee report released by the Social Security Administration, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, predicted that the Social Security trust fund will no longer be able to pay full benefits in 2034. Instead, recipients will only be able to receive three-quarters of the promised benefits from that point forward. That sum would be funded by payroll taxes from future generations.

Changes to How You Will Receive Benefits

Social security, at least not in our lifetime, will not likely cease to exist altogether. There will likely be some form of benefits well into the future, albeit perhaps a smaller amount or distributed under different circumstances and according to different rules. The great unknown, however, is in just what changes are in store for Social Security in the future.

There have been many recent changes around Social Security, such as shifts in the age when you can start receiving benefits and changes in the length of time you can defer payments. Additionally, there is no telling what additional changes are in store for Social Security in the road ahead, making accurate predictions about Social Security difficult.

Recent changes in Social Security have caused some confusion or misconceptions among those entering retirement already, so it is important to keep your thumb on the pulse of Social Security changes to maximize your benefits now or in the future.

Change is certain, and when it comes to Social Security, something will definitely have to change. With these inevitable changes ahead, it is important to check in with your financial advisor about your Social Security strategy, stay informed about the latest updates to Social Security policy, and update your retirement plan accordingly. With a strategic Social Security plan in place, you can rest assured that you are well-prepared for a happy, comfortable retirement, regardless of any turning tides that may lie ahead.

The FMB Advisors Blog

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