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Data: AARP survey of 1,441 U.S. adults conducted July 14–27, 2020 a ±3.4% margin of error at the 95% confidence level; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Younger Americans are increasingly concerned that Social Security won't be enough to wholly fall back on once they retire, according to a survey conducted by AARP — in honor of today's 85th anniversary of the program — given first to Axios.

Why it matters: Young people's concerns about financial insecurity once they're on a restricted income are rising — and that generation is worried the program, which currently pays out to 65 million beneficiaries, won't be enough to sustain them.

Details: Of the respondents who said they weren't confident in the future of the Social Security system, "money running out" of the fund and "not trusting the government to keep its promises" were cited as the top reasons for worry.

  • By the numbers: 72% of respondents told AARP they did not think Social Security checks would be enough to get by on, a worry that was most pronounced among those aged 30-49.

Yes, but: A separate finding from retirement trade group LIMRA says younger non-retired workers don't expect to rely on Social Security as their main source of income. Instead, the group is betting they live longer — and thus have increased health costs and other living expenses — and will require a bigger nest egg than previous generations.

  • Per LIMRA, Americans aged 40-54 say they expect just 20% of their income to come from Social Security. Compare that with the 53% of retirees today who say Social Security is their primary source of income.

The state of play: Trump's executive action on payroll tax deferral — and recent comments that opened the door to his support of a permanent payroll tax cut — stoked concerns that the funding stream for Social Security could be in jeopardy. (Since 2016, Trump has promised he wouldn't touch Social Security).

  • Industry leaders, including AARP's CEO, are calling on Trump to spell out a replacement source of funding for the program.
  • The system has already been hit as payroll tax receipts are walloped from the coronavirus recession that's caused tens of millions of Americans to lose work. Jobless workers don't pay payroll taxes — and the employer no longer has to pay in for those workers' share.
  • One model by the University of Pennsylvania estimates the Social Security retirement fund could run dry in 2032 in a worst-case scenario — a timeline that's accelerated from the previous projection of 2036 since the pandemic hit.

The intrigue: The AARP survey found that respondents' plans to rely on Social Security are nearly identical across party lines.

  • A majority of respondents of all political stripes were concerned that their retirement savings could be wiped out at any time by a major health care expense or recession (which we are in now).

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 18, 2020 - Technology

Microsoft adding security chip to Windows machines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Microsoft said Tuesday it is working with chipmakers AMD, Intel and Qualcomm to bring a new security processor to Windows machines. Dubbed Pluton, the security chip is based on work done for the Xbox One and designed to bring an added layer of security.

Why it matters: A number of difficult-to-patch chip flaws in recent years have left computers vulnerable to attack. It also comes as many of the biggest tech companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, are increasingly designing their own silicon to augment traditional processors.

Taiwan leader confirms U.S. troops on island training forces

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei earlier this month. Photo: I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen told CNN Thursday that a small number of American troops are on the island for training purposes and she has "faith" the U.S. would defend the democracy against a Chinese military attack.

Why it matters: This is the first time a Taiwanese leader has publicly acknowledged the presence of U.S. troops on the self-governing island since the last U.S. garrison left in 1979, when Washington switched formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.