Oct. 20, 2011 at 7:53 AM ET
Grandma and Grandpa may be getting a Social Security raise, but half of their grandkids are pretty sure they won’t see any Social Security at all.
That’s according to a new poll from the Strategic Research Institute at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis. It’s working with several other organizations on the iOMe Challenge, which seeks to help young people think about their financial future.
Apparently, they don’t think there’s much future there at all, at least when it comes to Social Security.
The online survey, which included a nationally representative sample of 642 18- to 29-year-olds, found only 5 percent expect that the Social Security benefits they stand to receive at age 67 to be about the same as the ones retirees are receiving today.
In addition to the 50 percent who don’t think it will exist at all, another 28 percent thought it would exist but the benefits would be much smaller. Eighteen percent weren’t sure what would happen.
Social Security is at risk of running short of funds unless some changes are made, because the general population is both aging and living longer. Proposals include raising the Social Security tax cap, increasing the age at which you start collecting Social Security and reducing benefits.
David Wegge, executive director of the Strategic Research Institute, noted that no matter what happens with Social Security, millennials will likely have to rely more on their own savings than previous generations. That’s because pensions also are becoming much less common.
“There’s much more responsibility that’s being placed on an individual’s shoulder,” Wegge said.
The survey found that about four in 10 millennials are setting aside some money for retirement each month. The ones who don’t think Social Security will be there when they retire were also the least likely to be currently saving for retirement.
Even those who are setting money aside are generally not saving very much.
That’s not surprising given the current economy. The unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds was at 9.7 percent in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For 20- to 24-year-olds, it was 14.7 percent.
Even those who have jobs may not have much left over at the end of the month. In general, younger workers tend to earn lower wages because they are just starting out, and that may be especially true right now.
In addition, Wegge noted, many younger workers may be trying to pay off student loans.
“I think that generation is coming into the workforce at a very challenging time,” he said.
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