Social Security Concerns Intensify as 1 in 5 Americans Over 55 Doubt it Will Support Retirement

In New York City, a new survey conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for a national publication found that a growing number of Americans across all age groups are losing confidence in the ability of Social Security to sustain them during retirement. The survey, which gauged respondents’ beliefs about Social Security’s capacity to support them in retirement, revealed that approximately one-fifth of individuals aged 55 and above are skeptical about its reliability for their golden years. Among those aged 55-64, 23 percent expressed doubts, while 19 percent of those already past retirement age (65+) shared similar concerns.

The depletion of the Social Security Trust Funds projected to occur in the early 2030s is contributing to the high level of anxiety surrounding the program, according to Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. She emphasized that many of today’s workers are relying on Social Security as a primary source of retirement income, particularly those with lower incomes. This worry is compounded by the fact that a significant percentage of younger adults also harbor doubts about the program’s ability to provide sufficient support during their retirement years.

The survey results indicate that approximately 21 percent of individuals in their 40s expressed uncertainty about Social Security’s ability to support them in retirement, while 21 percent remained optimistic. Meanwhile, the percentage of those in their 20s and 30s who believe the program may not be adequate dropped somewhat to 17 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Despite these concerns, optimism about the program increased among younger workers, with 22 percent of adults in their 30s strongly agreeing that Social Security will support them, compared to 14 percent among those in their 40s and 50s, and 16 percent among those in their 60s.

This growing unease among Americans about the future of Social Security is unfolding against the backdrop of legislative developments, including the advancement of the Fiscal Commission Act of 2023 by the House Budget Committee. Critics of the act fear that it could potentially lead to cuts in Social Security, further heightening tensions over the program’s future. In response to these concerns, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, criticized the bill, accusing Republicans of planning to gut Americans’ Social Security and Medicare benefits through unpopular schemes.

The survey, conducted online with 1,500 eligible voters across the U.S., provides a comprehensive picture of national sentiment about Social Security. As the debate over the program’s future intensifies, the survey’s findings point to growing apprehension among older Americans about their financial security in retirement. Additionally, the significant levels of concern among younger and middle-aged workers present a compelling case for policymakers to address the issue and ensure the stability of the program for future generations. These findings highlight the need for thoughtful and strategic decisions to safeguard the financial well-being of individuals as they approach retirement age.