Social Security benefits represent the largest asset for many mass-affluent clients, according to a Society of Actuary study titled “The Impact of Running Out of Money In Retirement.” One way that financial planners can help clients manage this important asset is to make sure they understand how the system works and not get swayed by political posturing, media hype or popular myth.

The amount of misinformation and outright distortion about the workings of Social Security is stunning. In 2000, Al Gore campaigned to create a “lockbox” to supposedly protect the program assets. In 2012, Rick Perry called SS a Ponzi scheme. There are regular rants from political leaders about the trust fund having nothing but IOUs, or being broke, or how the federal government is raiding it. Some hard facts are in order.

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