Social Security Misconceptions Threaten Middle-Income Americans' Financial Security, New Study Says

  Social Security Misconceptions Threaten Middle-Income Americans' Financial
                           Security, New Study Says

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, March 12, 2013

CHICAGO, March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --A majority of our nation's
middle-income Americans are relying heavily on Social Security to fund their
retirement; however, there are gaps in understanding how it works, according
to a new study released by the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a
Secure Retirement^® (CSR).

Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) say Social Security benefits make up at
least half or more of their retirement income, which exceeds the national
average of 65 percent, reported by the Social Security Administration. In
fact, 29 percent count on Social Security for 75 percent or more of their
retirement income.

Although Social Security has traditionally been the cornerstone of retirement
income for Americans of all income levels, for those with household incomes
between $25,000 and $50,000, one in ten (10 percent) rely on Social Security
for all of their retirement income.

Despite relying on Social Security to fund much of their retirement income,
knowledge of specific benefits varies widely among middle-income Americans.

The Longevity Risk and Reward for Middle-Income Americans study, which focused
on 500 Americans ages 55 to 75 with an annual household income of between
$25,000 and $75,000, found one in three (34 percent) do not understand that
delaying when they start to collect Social Security benefits can increase
their future benefit amount. 

Furthermore, nearly half (47 percent) incorrectly believe that an annual
cost-of-living increase to their Social Security benefits is guaranteed and 36
percent falsely believe that full Social Security benefits start with their
65^th birthday.

In addition to gaps in understanding of benefits, some middle-income Americans
are also not paying attention to their individual Social Security statements.
One in three (35 percent) middle-income Americans age 55 and older who are not
yet receiving Social Security do not know what their monthly benefit amount
will be when they retire.

"Most Americans will rely on Social Security to fund their retirement years
but the program was never designed to replace all of your income," said Chris
Campbell, vice president of marketing and business development at Bankers Life
and Casualty Company, a national life and health insurer. "Know your full
retirement age and explore your income options. Many products and services
exist for people with virtually any level of income and assets that can help
ensure you will not outlive your money."

When it comes to the future of Social Security, nearly eight in ten (78
percent) middle-income Americans age 55 and older say they are concerned about
the future of Social Security. In fact, most (38 percent) do not believe that
Social Security as we know it will exist in 20 years.

Moreover, the majority (67 percent) of respondents are unsure that the federal
government will fix the Social Security system in their lifetime. One-fifth
(20 percent) believe that the government will fix the system, while 13 percent
feel Social Security is not broken and should remain untouched.

Proposed changes to the current system do not provide middle-income Americans
over age 55 with optimism. In fact, more than half (56 percent) do not think
that changes or reforms to the current Social Security program will benefit
them.

To learn more about your Social Security benefits, visit SocialSecurity.gov.

Methodology
The Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement's study
Longevity Risk and Reward for Middle-Income Americans was conducted in
November 2012 by the independent research firm The Boomer Project. The full
report can be viewed at CenterForASecureRetirement.com.

A nationwide sample of 500 Americans ages 55 to 75 who have an annual
household income of between $25,000 and $75,000 participated in the
Internet-based survey.

Responses were weighted to match U.S. Census data on the selected age
segment. The margin of error was 4.47 percentage points at the 90% confidence
level.

About the Center for a Secure Retirement
The Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement is the
Company's research and consumer education program. Its studies and consumer
awareness campaigns provide insight and practical advice for how everyday
Americans can achieve financial security during retirement. To learn more,
visit CenterForASecureRetirement.com.

Established in 1879 in Chicago, Bankers Life and Casualty Company focuses on
the insurance needs of the retirement market. The nationwide company, a
subsidiary of CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: CNO), offers a broad portfolio
of health and life insurance and annuities designed especially for retirees.
To learn more, visit Bankers.com.

SOURCE Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement

Website: http://www.bankers.com
Contact: Jennifer Born, Bankers Life and Casualty Company, +1-312-396-7089,
J.born@banklife.com
 
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