Critter Corner: Why Should Gen Z’s and Millennials Care about Social Security? 

Dear Oakley, 

 I was born in 1997 and am therefore considered Gen Z. My wife, who is two years older and a millennial, and I are many decades away from retirement. When it comes to my generation and my wife’s, why should we be at all concerned with Social Security when it will probably never affect us? Also, is it too early to do estate planning or incapacity planning? Thanks for your help! 

 Yung Mann 


Dear Yung, 

Thank you for your question. I will first talk about Social Security and then I will explain why it’s important to think about estate planning and incapacity planning even while you’re young! 

Social Security Will Likely Be Part of Your Life 

It might be hard to think about programs such as Social Security when you’re decades from retirement. But many in the younger generation don’t realize that they are already benefiting from these programs and that they are going to need them when they retire, or maybe even before. 

When many in the younger generation think of Social Security, they often don’t consider the following: 

  • Social Security operates as disability insurance, paying benefits if you are severely disabled and cannot work again. 
  • Social Security can also act as life insurance, paying survivors benefits to a spouse and children if you die young. 
  • Unless you work for state or local government, you are unlikely to have a traditional pension plan that is tied to your salary and years of service, and pays you a guaranteed income for life. For most of us, Social Security is going to be the only one we have.
  • Social Security currently provides about 30% of the entire income of America’s senior citizens. 40%  of seniors rely on Social Security for half their income. And for some, about one senior in seven, Social Security accounts for 90% of their income.
  • Social Security pays a retirement income that is guaranteed for life and tied to inflation. You often get a raise each year based on inflation!  
  • Most importantly, contrary to what many people think, Social Security is NOT going bust and it will likely be around for your generation.  
    • According to CNBC, even without any fixes, the program will still be able to pay around four-fifths of benefits.  
    • Simple fixes—such as ending the cap on taxable earnings, or financially encouraging more people to work a little longer—can make the situation a lot better. A tax equal to 1.7% of annual gross domestic product would fill the gap completely. 

So, as you can see, you may very well be affected by Social Security in your lifetime!  

The Younger Generation Should Plan in Advance!  

Younger generations don’t often think about estate planning and incapacity planning. But you never know when something could happen! That’s why it’s important for all adults to have incapacity planning documents in place in order to avoid the nightmare of lifetime probate, also known as guardianship and conservatorship.  

Adults of all ages should sign a power of attorney and an advance medical directive. Doing so is the best way to ensure that your wishes are met, should you become unable to make important decisions for yourself, from any type of injury, accident, or illness. 

Estate planning is also important for anyone over the age of 18! By planning in advance, you and your wife will have the peace of mind that your needs will be adequately and properly addressed. Be sure to make an appointment at our office for an initial consultation! 

Hope this is helpful! 


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.