Younger Retirement Savers Are Counting Less on Social Security. That's a Good Thing.

Millions of seniors today collect a monthly benefit from Social Security. And chances are, you’re expecting to receive benefits yourself once your time in the workforce comes to an end.

Meanwhile, 90% of baby boomers today say Social Security will factor into their retirement income plans, according to a recent survey by Natixis. And 66% of Gen Xers say the same. But among millennials, only 46% say that Social Security will be a factor in their retirement income, and that’s a good thing.

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It’s best not to bank too heavily on Social Security

Younger retirement savers may be writing off Social Security because they assume those benefits are going away. To be clear, that isn’t actually happening.

Social Security is facing some funding challenges because its main source of revenue is payroll taxes. But in the coming years, as baby boomers exit the workforce in droves, that revenue stream is apt to shrink.

Social Security can tap its existing trust funds to keep up with scheduled benefits for a number of years before cuts come into play. But the program’s Trustees say that come 2034, those trust funds will be depleted. And from there, benefit cuts will be a strong possibility.

That’s the scoop on what’s happening with Social Security. And it’s a good reason to depend less on the program for retirement income.

Benefit cuts aren’t the only reason to work on building a solid nest egg to rely on Social Security to a lesser degree. The reality is that, even without benefit cuts, Social Security will only replace about 40% of the income you’re used to living on, assuming you earn an average wage.

Now think about the sort of lifestyle you want to lead in retirement. Would you be able to pull it off on only 40% of what you earn today? If not, then make sure to focus on building yourself a solid nest egg.

A smart approach to take

There’s no need to assume that you won’t get any money from Social Security once you retire. But it’s also a good idea to focus less on Social Security as a viable source of income and, instead, take steps to save for your senior years on your own.

If you build up a large nest egg and wind up with a monthly benefit from Social Security, that’s extra money you can use for leisure purposes. But that way, you’ll get the peace of mind that comes with having a nest egg that’s more than sufficient in covering your essential needs.

Meanwhile, older workers who expect to rely more on Social Security in retirement may want to change their approach. Again, it’s not that benefits are going away. But Social Security cuts could be harmful to those who don’t have a lot of money in savings. If you’re in that boat, you may want to do your best to start ramping up your savings rate to boost your IRA or 401(k) plan balance while you can.