Social Security Still a Component of Retirement Planning

October 23, 2012 (  Social Security continues to be a strong component of retirement planning for the middle class, according to results from the annual Wells Fargo Retirement Survey.

Middle class Americans between the ages of 25 and 75 expect to begin taking or began taking Social Security payments at the median age of 65 and estimate payments will cover a median of 25% of their monthly retirement income. However, 27% of people between the ages of 25 and 49 say Social Security will not cover any portion of their retirement.   

For those who say they expect to take Social Security, a majority (71%) of non-retirees indicate they would prefer delaying the age they begin taking Social Security so they receive higher payments. There are differences between the genders, with 51% of women in their 40s and 50s predicting they will take Social Security between the ages of 61 and 65, versus 35% of men.  

As the country continues to debate strategies for reducing the deficit, the number of middle class Americans who say they would be willing to accept a reduction in Social Security or Medicare to help reduce the country’s debt burden has declined to 37%, down from 43% in 2011. When asked whether they would be willing to take a cut in Social Security and Medicare, there was a pronounced difference between men and women between the ages of 40 and 59, with 44% of men saying “yes” versus 26% of women.   

Results were based on a telephone survey conducted by Harris Interactive of 1,000 middle class Americans, ages 25 to 75, between July 9 and September 4.