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The Good and Bad of Social Security

Jan 18, 2023

Blueprint Income Team

You know that Social Security plays a significant role in retirement, but what are the overlooked pros and cons of it? We’ve laid them out here.

  • There are concerns about the future of and available funding for Social Security
  • Social Security has provided Americans with security in retirement by providing guaranteed income

As retirement approaches there’s no doubt you’ve seen, heard, or thought about the role Social Security plays. But with all the information out there, you, along with many others, may find yourself in a cloud of confusion about the matter.

Here’s how you can compare all Social Security has to offer:

The Good

  • Secure Income That Won’t Run Out: Since the creation of Social Security, it’s been a reliable and trusted income source for hundred of millions of retired Americans.
  • Expense Management: Secure income makes retirement planning easier because you know how much money you can use to enjoy the lifestyle you want and deserve in retirement.

The Bad

  • Social Security Funding Is at Risk: Absent any major policy changes, the Social Security fund is expected to run out in between 2033 and 2037. To keep the program alive, benefits might have to be reduced or taxes raised. Uncertainty around the future of Social Security means we need to think of new ways to help fund our retirement lifestyles.
  • Social Security Only Covers a Portion of Your Expenses: Social Security only provides 42% of the pre-retirement expenses of an average American. As a result, Americans today must have additional retirement savings or income sources available to help fund their lifestyles. This trend will likely become more pronounced in the future.

The Three-Legged Stool

The old retirement adage says that we should use the three-legged stool approach to prepare for retirement:

  1. Social Security – This is the government’s retirement plan for us. As long as you’re working (to earn the credits required addressed above) and paying taxes, you’re earning Social Security credits. When you retire, you’ll start receiving monthly Social Security income that will continue for as long as you’re alive.
  2. Pensions – This is the form employer retirement plans used to take. They provided a steady monthly paycheck no matter what happened in the market and no matter how long you lived. Because Social Security only covers, on average, 40% of one’s retirement expenses, people leaned on pensions for the rest. The problem today is that the second leg of the three-legged stool is wobbly or gone. Instead of offering pensions, employers are providing 401(k)s and matching contributions, which helps with the third stool.
  3. Personal Savings – So that you have access to money outside of, and beyond, monthly Social Security and pension checks, you need to save on your own. This money is generally invested differently to serve two purposes. First, money invested in liquid money market or savings accounts provides a cushion and access to extra cash in case of emergency. Second, money beyond that can be invested in the market for a high potential return. This is the money you’re comfortable losing.

How to Supplement Your Social Security

According to the Social Security Administration, individuals aged 65 and over in the top quartile for income (an average of $78,180) received only 18% of their income from Social Security. So where does the remaining 82% come from?

Purchasing an income annuity

Income annuities provide a guaranteed lifetime stream of income during your retirement. You pay a lump sum upfront to purchase your annuity from an insurance company. Then, the insurance company sends you a series of payments for the rest of your life.

How Can I Purchase an Income Annuity?

At Blueprint Income, we offer annuities from more than 15 top rated insurance companies. Click below to get real-time personalized quotes.

Income Annuity Quotes


From there, you’ll get access to our annuity guides and team of specialists to help you analyze your retirement finances and walk you through the application process.

Blueprint Income Team

We are a team of finance, insurance, and actuarial professionals working to make it easier for everyone to achieve a steady and comfortable retirement. We write about annuities (the good and the bad) and provide strategies to help Americans prepare for retirement.


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