People have traditionally seen Social Security benefits as the foundation of their retirement planning programs. The Social Security contributions deducted from workers’ paychecks have, in effect, served as a government-enforced retirement savings plan.
However, the Social Security system is under increasing strain. Better health care and longer life spans have resulted in an increasing number of people drawing Social Security benefits. As the baby boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) has begun to retire, even greater demands are being placed on the system.
In 1950, there were 16.5 active workers to support each person receiving Social Security benefits. In 2018, there were only 2.8 workers supporting each Social Security beneficiary. And it is projected that there will be only 2.0 active workers to support each Social Security beneficiary by 2040.1