Americans Agree on These 3 Changes to Social Security

Older couple
Photo by Lisa F. Young / Shutterstock.com

Americans appear to disagree on many things these days, but they find common ground on one subject: how to fix the Social Security system.

In all age groups, the majority of Americans support three key changes to help strengthen the Social Security system, according to the Nationwide Retirement Institute’s seventh-annual Social Security survey.

Those changes are:

Privatizing a portion of Social Security benefits so people are free to invest that portion as they see fit

  • 64% of millennials support this idea
  • 61% of Generation Xers
  • 51% of baby boomers and older

Applying cost-of-living increases for Social Security benefits only to lower- or middle-income households

  • 62% of millennials support this idea
  • 70% of Generation Xers
  • 63% of baby boomers and older

Eliminating the payroll tax earnings cap, which limits the amount of income that can be taxed for Social Security

  • 56% of millennials support this idea
  • 62% of Generation Xers
  • 56% of baby boomers and older

The concept of “means testing” — which would limit or eliminate benefits for people above a certain income threshold — received more modest support: 44% of millennials, 38% of Generation Xers and 44% of baby boomers and older support that idea.

The Harris Poll conducted the survey online between Feb. 19 and March 6. Around 1,700 U.S. adults ages 24 and older participated in the survey.

Avoiding key Social Security mistakes

Social Security is the foundation of retirement income for millions of Americans. Making the wrong decisions regarding the government program can tarnish your golden years, leaving you with less money to spend.

For example, claiming early can be costly. As we have reported:

“Claiming early can be risky because once you claim benefits, you will be stuck with the same size payment for life. The amount of a person’s monthly benefit typically will never increase except for inflation adjustments.”

For more on avoiding such mistakes, check out “7 Social Security Blunders That Can Ruin Your Retirement.”

Tips for making the right Social Security decisions are a big part of the Money Talks News retirement course, The Only Retirement Guide You’ll Ever Need. This 14-week boot camp is intended for those who are 45 or older. It maps everything you need to know about retiring — including information about Social Security “secrets.”

You can also find help for planning your retirement in our Solutions Center. There, you can find a financial adviser or get expert help that will allow you to choose the best Social Security strategy for your needs.

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