The Economic Innovation Group recently conducted a survey asking Millennials a series of questions relating to the economy and their financial futures. When asked which policies candidates would need to address in order to win over the millennial vote, the top two areas of concern were public education and Social Security.
While it’s no surprise that young Americans are concerned with public education and the vast sums of student loan debt they have accumulated, Millennials are not often thought of as the generation most concerned with planning for their retirement. Historically, younger generations have been less likely than their elders to think about their future retirement plans-or any long-term plans for that matter.
However, the results of this new survey show a shift in priorities occurring with today’s young Americans. According to the survey, 74 percent of young Americans are worried that social security won’t be there when they retire. This is a rational fear, especially given the grim outlook released earlier this summer in the Social Security Trustees Annual Report, which projects the program’s insolvency sometime before 2034.
Yet, even the Trustees’ bleak prediction is generous when considering the Congressional Budget Office’s recent report, which puts the insolvency date closer to 2029.
Either way you look at the situation, the oldest Millennials are currently 36 years old and it is highly unlikely that they will be ready to retire before 2029 or even 2034. Millennials recognize that they will be unable to rely solely on Social Security payments to fund their retirement, but most don’t have an alternative plan in place and many do not even know where to begin.
Any young Americans tuning into last night’s presidential debate hoping for some direction on the matter were surely disappointed with the lack of substance given by our current presidential candidates. To be sure, neither candidate addressed the dire state of our Social Security program even once.
Social Security currently accounts for the largest chunk of our federal budget, even surpassing military spending. In 2016 alone, Social Security is projected to cost the American people $929 billion dollars. This is not an issue that can be swept under the rug until the next election season.
Millennials are now the largest potential voting bloc in the country and they have made it clear that Social Security is one of the most important issues for their generation.
However, the failure to mention Social Security on last night’s debate stage shows that the candidates have neglected to highlight issues that resonate with the youth of this country. This, perhaps, lends at least some reasoning as to why many Millennials are ditching the two-party system altogether and have begun looking at third-party candidates instead.