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AARP Members and Private Social Security Accounts

A poll of 1,000 AARP members, all age 50+, found significant resistance to private accounts funded with Social Security taxes. This national telephone survey confirms that, even in response to a neutral phrasing of proposals for private accounts, 6 out of 10 members oppose them, with 46 percent strongly opposed. Only 29 percent support private accounts. When any consequence of creating these accounts is mentioned, opposition rises to 7 in 10 AARP members.

Similarly, questions that pose choices about private accounts indicate that members reject two of the strongest reasons proponents provide for these accounts. Specifically, 70 percent agree that even though private accounts give people more discretion in investing for retirement, the $900 billion price tag is too great. Only 16 percent think $900 billion is a good price to pay for the ability of investing through a private account. Similarly, 75 percent believe Social Security should remain a program that provides a predictable benefit without investment risk. Only 19 percent think Social Security should be more like an investment account with people taking risks for the possibility of greater returns.

Interviews were conducted between March 16th and March 22nd by Woelfel Research, Inc., a national survey research firm. For further information about the survey, please contact Jeffrey Love of AARP Knowledge Management/Strategic Issues Research at 202-434-6279. (16 pages)

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