Since its inception, the Social Security program has collected about $20 trillion and paid out about $17 trillion leaving a surplus of around $3 trillion
That surplus is projected to run out around the year 2035.
Roughly 66 million people are receiving social security payments.
For 61% of those beneficiaries, Social Security makes up a majority of their cash income.
For another third of those beneficiaries, Social Security makes up about 90% of their income.
Now, as for how much you should rely on Social Security in the long term, a good rule of thumb would be to assume at some point the benefits might be cut by a third. To be clear, there is no official policy declaration on this point by any government official and all kinds of scenarios are possible as the depletion date draws near, but something will have to be done. For those with a significant number of years until retirement, you would be well advised to plan for Social Security to be a much smaller part of your retirement income than the generations before you. Then, if by some stroke of good fortune your plan ends up having underestimated your actual Social Security benefit, you will be that much better off.
As always, let us know if you need help thinking through your plan.
1926-1956: The Great Depression, a stock market crash of more than 80%, World War II, The Korean War, and four recessions.
1956-1986: The Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, a president was assassinated and another forced to resign, an oil price shock from the OPEC embargo, double-digit inflation, and interest rates, and six recessions.
1986-2016: Black Monday in 1987, the Savings & Loan crisis, Desert Storm, 9/11, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and three recessions.
Second, what was happening with stock market returns:
Using the rule of 72, a person who got in the stock market and stayed invested from 1926-1956 doubled his money roughly every 6 ½ years. A person who got in the stock market and stayed invested from 1956-1986 doubled his money roughly every 7 ½ years. And a person who got in the stock market and stayed invested from 1986-2016 doubled his money roughly every 7 years. All this happened despite all the major shocks that happened during those periods.
That’s something to think about, but not too hard. Time is your friend until it isn’t.
Just A Thought
“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability." - Henry Ford
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