Two-thirds of respondents to a survey by Spectrem's Millionaire Corner believe there should be no income limit for individuals collecting Social Security benefits.
The highest income group had the highest “No’’ response, with 72 percent of those with a net worth over $5 million saying there should be no income limit for collecting benefits. That number drops to 61 percent for those with a net worth between $100-500 thousand.
Over 1,100 respondents answered questions about Social Security benefits, including queries about how well informed they are on the topic, where they get their information on Social Security, and what they think will happen to Social Security in the future.
A majority of respondents admitted to having a fair to good understanding of the workings of Social Security benefits. Almost half of respondents with a net worth over $5 million said they have a “good’’ understanding of Social Security.
The good news from the perspective of the Social Security Administration is that 90 percent of respondents get their information about when to begin receiving Social Security benefits either from the website www.ssa.gov or from printed material provided by the SSA. Among males, 94 percent get their information about when to begin receiving benefits directly from the SSA. Among respondents with net worth between $1 million and $5 million, a full 97 percent get their information from either the web site or the SSA printed material.
Personal advisors are not often used for the purposes of Social Security information, the survey revealed. Overall, only 10 percent of respondents said their personal financial advisor was the most helpful source of information on benefits. Again, the SSA material was given high marks.
Among the 430 respondents who have investigated whether to begin receiving benefits, an overwhelming majority said they felt at least “somewhat well informed’’ on the decision. Only two percent report being minimally informed when making the decision to take benefits.
A majority of respondents said they would wait until full retirement age or even later to begin taking Social Security benefits. However, 25 percent of those surveyed with a net worth between $100,000 and $500,000 said they would take benefits as early as possible. Forty-four percent of respondents 61 years old or older said they would wait past full retirement age in order to maximize benefits, the highest percentage response in the survey.
The prospect of Social Security benefits for future generations was extremely dim. Only 16 percent said future generations will enjoy the same level of benefits as current retirees.
Solving the current problems with funding Social Security seemed problematic. While 37 percent of respondents said workers should pay into the system according to their full salary as opposed to current caps, more than a third of respondents had no idea how to fix the projected short fall, or did not agree with current suggested solutions, including disallowing benefits for seniors with more than $75,000 in annual income in retirement, or requiring workers to contribute part of their salary to a 401(k) plan or other type of retirement plan to supplement Social Security.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.