Tina Ambrozy Tina Ambrozy (Credit: LI)

Social Security planning might be a better conversation starter for younger prospects than for older prospects.

Nationwide found evidence for that recently when it commissioned an online survey of 1,727 U.S. consumers ages 24 and older.

Nationwide broke the results down by generation. It defined “millennials” as participants ages 24 through 39; members of Generation X as being ages 40 to 55; and baby boomers as people ages 56 and older. The participants answered the survey questions in February and March, before the COVID-19-related social distancing rules began to take effect.

Nationwide company found that 32% of the millennials without advisors said they plan to ask a financial advisor about Social Security.

Resources

  • Links to Nationwide Social Security survey resources are available here.
  • An earlier article about Social Security claiming strategies is available here.

Only 21% of the Gen Xers without advisors, and 6% of the boomers without advisors, said they’d ask advisors about Social Security claiming.

Nationwide also found that the millennials in the sample were almost as likely as the Gen Xers to think that an advisor should talk about maximizing Social Security, or else.

Here’s how often participants in different age groups were to say they’d be very or somewhat likely to replace an advisor who failed to offer advice about maximizing Social Security benefits:

  • Millennials: 86%
  • Gen Xers: 93%
  • Boomers: 74%

Millennials’ high level of interest in Social Security planning “gives a great call to action for financial professionals, said Tina Ambrozy, a senior vice president at Nationwide. “It’s a topic for all clients.”

Learning about Social Security planning early is a great idea, because younger workers have many more ways they can use their knowledge than clients who are already within a few years of retirement, Ambrozy said.

“Now it’s up to us to make sure we’re stepping up with that kind of support,” Ambrozy said.

The Pandemic

Nationwide commissioned a second follow-up poll in May, to see how the COVID-19 pandemic had affected people’s thoughts about Social Security.

The sample for the second survey included 2,026 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older.

The millennials in the sample were almost as worried about the future of Social Security as the older participants: 59% of the millennials said they worry more now about Social Security running out of money, compared with 65% of the Gen  Xers and 61% of the boomers.

The Future

Nationwide also asked participants about what they think about options for strengthening Social Security’s finances.

The company found that many survey participants in the sample believe that Social Security needs reform, but that there’s no clear consensus on how Social Security should change. The most popular reform option is getting high earners to pay extra. That option has the support of 52% of the boomers and 45% of the Gen Xers.

Only 35% of the millennials said getting the rich to pay more is a good way to shore up Social Security.

— Read Clients May Jilt You Because of This: Nationwideon ThinkAdvisor.

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