Many people are surprised to hear that, according to the Social Security Administration, 64% of those who are receiving Social Security are relying on it as their primary source of income. A third of the people who are receiving Social Security say that their benefit comprises at least 90% of their total income. The average Social Security benefit is $1072 per year, and a recent Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll reveals that 25% of baby boomers, who are retiring in droves, have zero retirement savings.
If you let all those statistics swim around in your head for a moment you will recognize the reason why retirement planning attorneys suggest that people begin to look ahead as early as possible. It is difficult to get by on Social Security alone, and the reality is that things will probably get worse before they get better.
There were no increases in the Social Security benefits for recipients in 2010 and 2011, and unless you have been living under a rock somewhere you’ve probably noticed that we have a budget crisis in the United States. Politicians from both directions are presenting plans that involve addressing the Social Security and Medicare “problem.”
There are 10,000 people applying for Social Security every day right now and this is going to persist for the next 20 years, so there is indeed a budgetary challenge there. Many of these people would say that they paid into Social Security for 40 or 50 years so they’re confused about where their contributions are, but of course that’s another story.
If you are interested in learning more about Social Security and how it fits into your retirement plan, the Social Security Administration offers a fantastic online resource in the form of its Benefits Planner. It explains everything that you need to know about Social Security, and you can even apply for benefits online if the time has come for you to do so.