As the presidential election nears, many Americans want to secure the future of their Social Security checks.
Close to two-thirds, or 64%, of those polled recently by the American Institute of CPAs say insuring the Social Security system stays solvent should be the top economic issue addressed by the next U.S. president.
Among those 65 and up, nearly three-quarters, or 74%, say it is the most important economic issue for them, followed by 71% for those age 55 to 64. Of those age 45 to 54 and 35 to 44, 66% indicate it is their top concern, while this level falls off a bit, to 53%, for those age 18 to 34.
“Our survey clearly demonstrates that people feel strongly about the solvency of Social Security and the potential impact on their own retirement security,” said Gregory Anton, chair of the American Institute of CPAs’ National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, in a statement.
“The earlier people start saving for retirement, and the more they contribute to their retirement accounts, the better financial shape they will be in,” explained Anton. “That way Social Security can supplement their retirement savings rather than serve as the sole component.”
The survey polled 1,005 U.S. adults in March and was conducted by Harris Poll.
A separate study led by the National Council on Aging study found that 22% of married Social Security recipients and 47% of single Social Security recipients depend on these funds for 90% of their income. Furthermore, the U.S. Census Bureau has estimated that the poverty rate among men and women over 65 would be roughly 50% without Social Security.
After Social Security, many of those polled say they want the next U.S. president to reduce the federal deficit (44%), decrease unemployment (38%), reduce taxes (36%) and lower the international trade deficit (25%). More than one in five (22%) want to keep interest rates low.
Thought it remains to be seen which two candidates will face off in the November presidential elections, 44% of those polled by the CPA group say their current economic well-being would be about the same no matter who wins.
More than one-fifth (21%) feel their economic well-being may be better and slightly fewer (19%) feel their economic well-being would be worse after the election. Just 15% say they are uncertain about the election’s impact on their economic well-being.
“While the outcome of elections have the potential to impact American’s economic situation, people need to understand that they themselves have the ability to make positive changes in their financial behavior,” added Anton.
“The tools and resources on the AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website empower people to understand their finances and take steps to improve their saving and spending habits to better position themselves for a comfortable retirement.”
— Check out Older Voters Demand Leadership on Social Security From Next President: AARP Poll on ThinkAdvisor.