What do our longer lifespans have to do with the upcoming election?  Plenty.

Every day, more Americans will reach their 100th birthday. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of Americans aged 100+ has increased 43.6% since 2000. As more people live longer, the challenge will be to determine how they will be able to financially support a healthy and productive life over an extended lifespan. We also live in a time when 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning age 65 everyday and, whether they are ready or not, they’re retiring in droves.

Retirement security is clearly one of the most pressing issues today and for the upcoming election. Americans are concerned about the future of Social Security and how they will be able to fund their retirement. Traditional pension plans are disappearing, and many lack an adequate amount of personal savings.

Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies’ (TCRS) 2016 Survey of Workers finds that 58% of American workers most frequently cite “fully funding Social Security” as a retirement-related priority for the new president and Congress. The Social Security Administration now estimates that the Social Security Trust Fund is projected to be depleted in 2034; less than 20 years from now. Reforms are needed and they are needed sooner than later to allow people time to adjust their retirement plans accordingly.

Workers’ second most frequently cited priority in the TCRS survey, at 46%, is “encouraging 401(k) or similar plans to offer the option to pay retirement benefits in a form that guarantees retirees a set income for life.” This priority is supported by a widespread fear among workers of outliving savings and investments, according to the survey’s findings.

Workers’ other frequently cited retirement-related priorities for the new president and Congress include:

  • Encourage employers with a 401(k) or similar plan to enable their part-time workers to participate in the plan (38%)
  • Encourage employers to make it easier to work past age 65 with a flexible, phased transition into retirement (37%)
  • Promote the ability for workers to save for retirement by setting up a direct deposit of a portion of their paychecks into an IRA (including myRA), especially for those who are not offered a 401(k) or similar plan (36%)
  • Make the Saver’s Credit, a tax credit for saving for retirement, available to all tax filers regardless of whether they have to pay taxes or not (34%)

As the election draws near, take the opportunity to share these survey findings with your clients so they can enlighten themselves about the candidates’ positions on retirement reforms and how they cast their votes.

No matter who wins the election, the new president and Congress need to strengthen our nation’s retirement system so that today’s and future generations can afford a comfortable and dignified retirement.

For more perspectives on retirement security-related priorities based on TCRS survey findings, please check out my recent article at BusinessInsider.