A survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by GOBankingRates found that if not for the presence of the Social Security program, nearly one in four adults would not have any retirement plan at all.
“While nearly as many people could leave their benefits on the table and still retire in style, 50% of the population will need their monthly check to cover more than half or even all their expenses after they stop working,” the results of the survey explained.
Specifically, 23% of respondents plan to rely exclusively on their Social Security benefit payments, while 28% expect those benefits to cover more than half of their spending in later life. Another 28% of respondents added they expect Social Security to cover “less than half” of their retirement spending, a generally more realistic expectation. One in five respondents said they will not rely on Social Security at all.
“The Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that benefits account for a healthy 30% of recipient income overall,” the results said. “But 37% of men and 42% of women count on their monthly checks for half their income or more, representing a dangerous overreliance on benefits.”
The new year is fast approaching, and 2024 could prove to be pivotal in the wider American retirement ecosystem. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. will reach “peak 65” next year. Roughly 4.4 million Americans will reach the age of 65 in 2024 — a figure that comes out to roughly 12,000 people per day.
By 2030, all members of the baby boomer generation will have reached the age of 65, which also means that by the beginning of 2028, the entire generation’s homeowners in the U.S. will qualify for a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).
Too much reliance on Social Security presents a problem absent legislative action to shore up the diminishing Social Security Trust Fund.
“This year, trustees for Social Security and Medicare calculate that Social Security will be able to pay 100% of scheduled benefits until 2033,” said columnist Anne Stanley in a recent column examining the aging of America’s population. “Without additional funding, benefits would fall after that. The Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, the main fund for Medicare, is expected to pay 100% of benefits until 2031.”
Disagreements over how to continue funding Social Security are one of the many issues that lawmakers disagree about. Questions about top-line U.S. government spending — which includes entitlement programs like Social Security — are one of the issues that could potentially lead to a government shutdown either at the end of September or, if a continuing resolution (CR) is passed, by the end of the year.