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What Americans Don't Know About Social Security

September 10, 2015

Just 28 percent of Americans received a passing grade (60 percent or higher) when asked basic Social Security questions, a new study from MassMutual finds. Moreover, from a pool of 1,500 respondents ages 18­ to 65, just one person answered all 10 true/false questions correctly.

The quiz touched on a range of topics, including the national retirement age, spousal benefits and eligibility for benefits. The high failure rate suggests what a number of advisors already know: Too many Americans are lacking the knowledge and tools that will allow their retirement reality to match their retirement dreams.

“Perhaps the greatest Social Security deficit in this country is the lack of education around the retirement benefits of the program, which presents an opportunity and responsibility to financial professionals,” said Michael R. Fanning, executive vice president, U.S. Insurance Group, MassMutual. “With millions of Americans nearing retirement each year, many may be at risk of underutilizing a critical component of their retirement income stream.”  

If there’s a silver lining, it’s self-awareness: Just 8 percent of those surveyed considered themselves to be very knowledgeable on the subject of Social Security.

And that’s where you come in.

How does your own knowledge stack up?

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