American workers' wish list for the new president is relatively unchanged from previous election years. They want to see the new president's priorities include fully funding Social Security and encouraging employer-sponsored retirement plans to offer benefits in the form of monthly income.
Those are among the results of a worker survey conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and published in the 17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers. The survey found that 58 percent of workers want Social Security fully funded, and 46 percent of workers want 401(k) and similar plans to offer monthly income for life.
In 2012, the last presidential election year, 57 percent of respondents reported they wanted Social Security fully funded. In addition, 43 percent said they wanted employer-sponsored retirement plans to offer monthly lifetime income.
Unless reforms are made, Social Security is projected to run into the red by 2034, the year in which the program’s surplus will run out.
Critics of Social Security have suggested privatizing it as the answer to making the program more efficient.
Privatizing Social Security has never been popular nor does it seem likely in this election year, no matter which candidate wins the presidency in November.
More companies, however, are adding annuity options to their employer-sponsored retirement plans.
Clinton, Trump and Social Security
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has resisted calls to privatize Social Security, has opposed raising the retirement age at which recipients are eligible to receive 100 percent of the Social Security benefits, and has opposed closing the shortfall on the middle-class.
Recipients reach full retirement age at 66, the year they can receive 100 percent of their monthly Social Security benefit.
Instead, Clinton has backed Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, higher payroll taxes on higher-income workers and higher income taxes on Social Security benefits going to higher-income beneficiaries.
Republican nominee Donald Trump has said little about how to keep Social Security solvent except to say that the key to preserving the program is to grow the U.S. economy and eliminate fraud and waste among federal government programs.
Reforming Social Security, while conceptually simple, is difficult to execute, Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, told InsuranceNewsNet.
If Congress extends the age at which recipients become eligible for 100 percent of their Social Security benefit, the economy needs to create more “meaningful opportunities” for older workers so that they can remain in the labor force, she added.
Indeed, the Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers also found that 37 percent of respondents said encouraging employers to make it easier to work past age 65 should be a priority for the next president and Congress.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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