80% of Americans oppose changing retirement age to 70

In this photo illustration, a Social Security card sits alongside checks from the U.S. Treasury on October 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
In this photo illustration, a Social Security card sits alongside checks from the U.S. Treasury on October 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo credit (Photo illustration by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Poll results released Thursday by Quinnipiac University showed that nearly 80% of participants opposed raising the full retirement age for Social Security from 67 to 70.

Even in the case that this change would make benefits last longer, 62% of participants still opposed it. Quinnipiac surveyed 1,795 U.S. adults nationwide from March 9 to March 13.

American workers who pay Social Security taxes earn credits toward Social Security benefits. For those born in 1929 or later, 10 years of work are required to earn the 40 necessary credits to get benefits. Recipients get a monthly payment based on their lifetime Social Security payments.

While the full retirement age in the U.S. is generally 67, people can decide to collect early at age 62, though their payments will be lower than if they wait until full retirement age.

Republican lawmakers in the U.S. have proposed increases to the nation’s retirement ages in the future. Poll results from Quinnipiac showed that 68% of respondents said they are either very concerned (33%) or somewhat concerned (35%) that they will not have enough money to live comfortably during retirement.

In recent weeks, French President Emmanuel Marcon’s proposed change to that country’s minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 have resulted in riots, per The Guardian.

“The French are no strangers to large-scale public protests, but the size and scale of the reaction to a planned increase in the retirement age has caught Macron off-guard,” The Guardian reported this week. “This week he was forced to cancel a state visit from King Charles, and police have been using increasing force to quell the protests in cities across the country.”

According to the World Bank, life expectancy in France is 82 years, compared to 77 in the U.S. Life expectancy in both countries fell during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the U.S. decline was sharper.

“Life expectancy at birth in the United States declined nearly a year from 2020 to 2021, according to new provisional data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS),” said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last August. “That decline – 77.0 to 76.1 years – took U.S. life expectancy at birth to its lowest level since 1996. The 0.9 year drop in life expectancy in 2021, along with a 1.8 year drop in 2020, was the biggest two-year decline in life expectancy since 1921-1923.”

Retirement benefits help older Americans who may be ready to leave the workforce. According to the Quinnipiac poll, a majority of all Americans are feeling financial pressure right now, after months of high inflation and interest rate hikes.

More than half (52%) of the respondents said it would be either very difficult (25%) or somewhat difficult (27%), to pay an unexpected $1,000 bill. A little more than 40% of Americans said they have less in savings compared to a year ago, 17% said they have more and 39% said they have about the same amount.

“Persistent inflation, climbing interest rates and a volatile stock market are likely contributing to worries about everything from putting food on the table to getting medical care. One silver lining: concerns about losing jobs is at the bottom of the list,” said Quinnipiac University School of Business Professor of Finance and Director of GAME Forum Osman Kilic.

Featured Image Photo Credit: (Photo illustration by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)