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Survey Shows Impact of Social Security

As the United States celebrated the 80th Anniversary of Social Security on August 14, AARP released the results of a national survey of adults about the program.

“…Our survey found that [Social Security] remains as important as ever to American families,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “We also found that although most want to continue living independently as we age, obstacles to saving often continue to occur in our lives. However, Social Security continues to help generation after generation to diminish these obstacles.”

Following are details of some of the survey’s key findings:

Americans say that they rely on Social Security as a core part of their retirement plan and that they believe in the program’s importance, regardless of their generation or political ideology.

  • 80 percent plan to rely on Social Security in a substantial way or rely on it somewhat. 33 percent say it is the source of income that they rely on or plan to rely on most during their retirement.
  • 66 percent say it is one of the very most important government programs. This view has remained consistent over time in similar AARP surveys taken in 1995, 2005, and 2010. Younger Americans also value the program. Specifically, 90 percent of adults under age 30 believe Social Security is an important government program, and 85 percent want to know it will be there when they retire.

Americans have a desire not to depend on others and want to live independently. 83 percent consider it extremely important to have the ability to live independently in their homes for as long as they want, although 64 percent have concerns they won’t be able to do so as they age. Additionally, while 68 percent feel it is extremely important to have family around, 80 percent want to ensure self-sufficiency so their children and other relatives won’t have to support them financially.

Many people face the following obstacles to saving and concerns about living in retirement:

  • 69 percent have to focus on their current financial needs.
  • 47 percent don’t have enough money left over after paying their bills.
  • 39 percent faced a major health need or problem in their family.
  • 68 percent express at least some concern that they won’t have enough savings to last their lifetime.
  • 69 percent express at least some concern about having a major healthcare expense that could wipe them out financially.
  • 65 percent express at least some concern that Social Security won’t be enough for them to get by on.

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This article was adapted from information provided by AARP.