Most of us commonly think of Social Security as almost synonymous with retirement — but it was never planned to be.
When it was established in the 1930s it was set up to be primarily an anti-poverty program—or “social insurance”—dealing with old age, poverty, unemployment, and the burdens of widows and fatherless children.
The stock market crash of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression collapsed incomes across the board and wiped out the savings of many of the elderly. The government responded by implementing Social Security to remedy many of these economic ills.
Strictly speaking, it was never intended to be a retirement plan as much as a supplement for lost wages.
The Depression is now deep in the history books and with it, the original intent of Social Security. Today it’s mostly seen as a retirement plan.
But is it really?