Millions of retirees depend on benefits from Social Security to provide for their living expenses. But the Social Security Administration projects that it won't be able to pay full benefits in the future. A wide range of choices could help close the financial gap, but they all involve sacrifices from some group of Americans.
A recent survey from the NORC Center for Public Affairs and AP polled those 50 or older for their opinions on what changes, if any, they'd support to help save Social Security. In the following video, Dan Caplinger, the Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at the survey's results, noting that, of the four choices considered, the only one that got a majority of support was raising the maximum earnings on which workers have to pay Social Security payroll taxes. Right now, wages up to $113,700 each year are subject to payroll taxes for Social Security, with employees paying 6.2% of their salary, and employers paying another 6.2% on their workers' behalf. By a 61% to 25% margin, those surveyed supported raising that $113,700 amount.
Dan goes on to note that other alternatives didn't get nearly as much support. Views on means testing Social Security benefits were almost evenly split between those in favor, and those against. Twice as many people opposed raising the retirement age as supported it, while three times as many people were opposed to changing the way the cost-of-living increases were done. With no easy solution, Americans can expect the debate to continue for a long time.