Social Security reform is an issue that has raised concern for me in recent years. At the age of fifteen, I was eager to get my first part time job as a lifeguard. I have held down a job life guarding during the summer in addition to working at a gym in childcare and at a call center at my university during the year. Although I have yet to work a single day of my post-graduate career, I already find myself worried about when or even whether or not I’ll be able to claim my benefits as a retiree.
I’m not alone in this cause for concern. In fact, one in four millennials don’t expect to receive any Social Security benefits in retirement. In another poll, sixty percent of millennials anticipate the bankruptcy of Social Security–which is completely out of our control–to occur before they retire.
Unlike our parents or grandparents, we will likely be unable to count on our future employers to help us secure these benefits. This responsibility will fall on our own shoulders to save. Forbes Personal Finance suggests saving about eight percent of one’s income, accumulating an astronomical $100,000 just before reaching the age of thirty in order to prepare for retirement. This suggestion reminds me of a remark my grandmother (an eighty-nine year old resident of an assisted living home) recently made about how “young people just spend, spend, spend all their money but need to save it for when they just keep on living and have to pay for an expensive place like this.”
With the 2016 Presidential election quickly approaching, it’s important that we understand where the GOP candidates–as well as our opponents–stand on Social Security:
- Marco Rubio would make no changes for those in or close to retirement. Rubio would also plan to increase the age of retirement due to increased life expectancy. Additionally, he’d reduce the rate of growth of benefits for seniors with higher incomes, while strengthening the program for low-income seniors.
- Ted Cruz’s plan seems to be very similar to Rubio’s.
- Hillary Clinton has stated that she opposes the privatization of Social Security, and opposes raising the retirement age. She wants to increase taxation on the wealthier by raising the cap on Social Security taxable income in addition to taxing other income that isn’t currently part of the system.
- The other Democratic Party candidate, Bernie Sanders also has similar views.
While Social Security is just one of the many platform issues voters should be taking into consideration before November, its’ future will nevertheless play a crucial role in the lives of millennials.