Should Social Security Have a Seat at Your Retirement Planning Table?

“Don't fall for the myth that Social Security runs dry after Baby Boomers retire. You'll still get most of the promised benefits,” Ruth Konigsberg assures Millennials and Gen-Xs.

Myth or no myth, at Worley Erhart-Graves (WEFA), we’ve found, some of our clients fear Social Security will not be there for them by the time they reach their Normal Retirement Age.

Social Security, Konigsberg explains, gets money to make payments to retirees in three ways:

  •  taxes on current workers
  •  taxes on benefit    payments
  •  interest income on a trust fun (worth approximately $2.6 trillion as of the end of 2013) 

As the program begins to run a larger and larger deficit, the shortfall will be made up by eating into the reserve fund itself. That’s what will be depleted by 2033, but not the entire program, Konigsberg, emphasizes. The Social Security program anticipates being able to pay approximately 75% of scheduled benefits between 2033 and 2088.

Social Security used to mail annual statements of estimated benefits, called “What Social Security Means to You.” These mailings were suspended due to financial cutbacks, but will now be sent out at five year intervals. Konigsberg advises not to ignore those, because “Social Security will still mean an awful lot”.

Facts: 

  •      Social Security's retirement program is fully funded for the
         next 19 years.
  •      As of 2014, Social Security had $2.8 trillion in reserves 

Here at WEFA, our approach is very similar to Konigsberg’s: When it comes to retirement planning, don’t rely only on Social Security, but also don’t assume nothing will be done between now and then to “fix” the projected shortfall.

Content was prepared by a freelance journalist on behalf of Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors