Social Security

President Franklin D. Roosevelt clearly stated the purpose of Social Security when it was inaugurated in 1935 and President Dwight Eisenhower restated it in 1954 in an address to Congress:

"The Social Security system is not intended as a substitute for private savings, pension plans, and insurance protection.  It is rather intended as a foundation upon which those other forms of protection can be soundly built.

Thus the individual's work, his planning and his thrift will bring him a higher standard of living upon his retirement -- or his family a higher standard of living in the event of his death-- than would otherwise be the case . . . .  Hence the system both encourages self-reliance and thrift, and helps to prevent destitution in our national life."

In other words, Retirement Security is primarily the culmination of a series of personal decisions (or non-decisions) over the course of an individual's lifetime and is not guaranteed by the government.