Big Changes to Social Security Program May Add to Americans' Worries That Benefits May Not Be There When Needed

Nov 12, 2015, 10:00 ET from RBC

RBC Wealth Management Poll: Majority of Americans and more than two-thirds of GenXers don't believe benefits will be there for them

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - While a majority of Americans say they will need to rely on Social Security benefits in retirement, most are not hopeful that those benefits will be there, according to a recent poll from RBC Wealth Management-U.S., conducted by Ipsos from October 6 to October 9, 2015.

The survey found that 72 percent of Americans think they will need to rely on Social Security in their retirement. However, regardless of their need, 55 percent are not confident that those benefits will be available when they need them.

"The message is clear: a majority of Americans are worried about their chances of receiving Social Security benefits in retirement," said John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management-U.S. "With news this week that two popular Social Security claiming tactics have been eliminated, I can only imagine that anxiety will increase."

GenXers (ages 35 to 54) are the least confident that Social Security benefits will be available to them when they retire, the survey found. Of Americans in this age group, 67 percent said they do not believe Social Security benefits will be there, regardless of whether they need them or not. That compares to 55 percent of Millennials (ages 18 to 34) and 41 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 55 and older).

"It's alarming that such a high percentage of the next generation of retirees has essentially given up hope that they will receive Social Security benefits," said Griffin Geisler, manager of the Internal Wealth Center at RBC Wealth Management. "But despite significant changes to the program this fall, we are stressing to our clients that Social Security should continue to be an important piece of their retirement income pie."

The changes to the Social Security program are expected to have the biggest impact on Baby Boomers, the group most likely (83 percent) to think they will need to rely on benefits when they retire. Baby Boomers were also the group with greatest confidence that Social Security benefits will be available to them.

"With no cost-of-living increase, and the elimination of popular tactics like "file and suspend" and "restricted application", it's more important than ever that retirees work with their advisors to plan the best course of action," Geisler said. "While this survey echoes the concerns we hear from our clients, with the right strategy in place, Social Security will continue to play a significant role in assuring a comfortable retirement."

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of RBC from October 6 to October 9, 2015. For the survey, a sample of n=2009 Americans was interviewed online via Ipsos's American online panel.  The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a Bayesian credibility interval.  In this case, with a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the sample universe of Americans been polled. The margin of error will be larger within sub-groupings of the survey population, for example, those who hold investments (n=805, +/- 3.9).

About RBC Wealth Management - U.S.

In the United States, RBC Wealth Management operates as a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC. Founded in 1909, RBC Capital Markets, LLC. is a member of the New York Stock Exchange, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, and other major securities exchanges.  RBC Wealth Management has $280 billion in total client assets with 1,900 financial advisors operating in 200 locations in 41 states. 

SOURCE RBC