Under President Trump, the stock market has climbed to record highs, swelling retirement accounts, while unemployment has dropped, helping to increase workers' IRAs, 401(k)s and pensions. Despite all the financial "winning", Americans overwhelmingly do not feel that Trump's policies will help their retirement.
In an exclusive MoneyTips online survey, 452 Americans were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement:
Only about 1 in 6 (17.9%) agreed with the statement, with less than 1 in 11 (8.6%) strongly agreeing. Conversely, more than half (58%) disagreed, with 44.9% disagreeing strongly. The people who believed strongly that Trump's policies would not help their retirement outnumbered those who agreed strongly that they would help by more than 5 to 1!
"It doesn't surprise me that people are worried about the effects of Trump's policies on retirement," says Brenton Smith, founder of "Fix Social Security Now" who analyzed the survey findings. "There's a lot of politics involved. The President has put people in place who do not appear to be fully committed to the Social Security program."
We broke the data down to see if current retirees felt differently from future retirees.
More than 1 out of 5 current retirees (21.3%) believe Trump's policies help their retirement, but less than 1 out of 7 (13.4%) yet to retire agree. Nevertheless, for both groups, those who disagreed were in the majority. In fact, the current retirees both disagreed more (58.9%) and strongly disagreed more (46.9%) than those yet to retire (56.7% and 42.3%). Of course, political preferences play a role, but when we removed those who voted for Trump and those who voted for Hillary Clinton, the majority of the remainder still felt that Trump's policies would not help their retirement.
We also asked people how they felt about the following statement:
While many people rail against the Social Security system, less than 1 in 16 (6.4%) of those we surveyed agreed with this statement, while more than 4 out of 5 (80.1%) disagreed. Among current retirees, a whopping 88% disagreed with the statement.
We were surprised when we broke the data down by annual family income.
While it makes sense that Social Security is needed more by lower earners, those who made more money were more likely to disagree with ending Social Security than those who earned less.
"I think the most interesting aspect of the data is the high-income lack of support for transitioning away from Social Security to let people do what they want," says Smith, who writes frequently about the program. "The strongest opposition comes from people in families making more than $150,000 per year. These are the people with the most to gain. Yet, more than 90% of those respondents disagreed, with most of them strongly disagreeing. Truth be told, reducing taxes in this fashion means that existing retirees would suffer very fast benefit cuts."
Although Social Security provides for seniors, support provided is based on input, not need. Does America want to redistribute its wealth to our needy seniors? We asked people to weigh in on the following statement:
Surprisingly, a clear majority (57.7%) approved of this socialist idea, while less than 1 in 5 (19.5%) disagreed. Those who have yet to retire (65.5%) were more likely to support it than current retirees (51.9%), although a majority of both groups agreed. A majority of both men and women agreed as well, but women (62.4%) were more likely to support the idea than men (52.2%) were.
Brenton Smith was surprised by the findings, but does not favor this idea. "We prepare for retirement with three things: savings, insurance (Social Security and pensions), and welfare (Supplemental Security Income, for example). Social Security has the highest level of predictability. Welfare has the lowest because it depends upon Congress agreeing on the meaning of 'needy'. In a world of a minimum senior stipend, a person retiring today would have to guess at the political winds ensuing over 20 years. The value of Social Security is certainty. That aspect cannot be replaced by a minimum senior stipend, which is unfortunately a welfare payment.
"We are talking about getting rid of a program that was designed to lower poverty-ridden old age into one that would foster it. Such a system would pay people to lower their savings to fit into the definition of needy."
Let the free Retirement Planner by MoneyTips help you calculate when you can retire without jeopardizing your lifestyle. For more of our exclusive retirement data and insights, visit MoneyTips Retirement Survey Findings.