Social Security was originally introduced in 1935 in the aftermath of the Great Depression. It was intended to provide a safety net of income to retired and disabled workers and their families. Social Security is a mandatory plan, requiring most wage earners to contribute a percentage of their yearly income to support the program. In return, they, their spouses and sometimes their dependents are eligible for retirement, disability and survivorship benefits.
Most qualified retirement plans offer significant tax benefits for those willing to follow a few IRS specified rules. The government wants to make these plans (401(k)s, Keoghs, SEPs and traditional IRAs) available for specific needs, and has established tax law to help eliminate potential abuses of these tax advantaged investment alternatives.
In years past, it was often realistic for retirees to base the majority of their retirement income on Social Security benefits and traditional employer sponsored pension benefits.
Unfortunately, Social Security retirement benefits have gradually been reduced in real terms, and the age one needs to attain in order to qualify for retirement benefits has been increasing steadily. iven current retirement trends, these retirement benefits will continue to be more and more difficult for the government to fund.