US News and World Report asks the question. Many retirees who have reduced spending power because of depleted 401(k) accounts are thankful that President Bush’s plan to partially privatize Social Security was never realized. But the debate over personal Social Security accounts rages on.
The success of private retirement accounts is dependent on the amount a worker contributes, the investment strategy, and the unpredictable whim of the market. Workers who contribute more and get better returns will have more retirement income than those who tuck away less and achieve smaller gains. Social Security benefits, on the other hand, depend on lifetime wages and the age at which benefits are claimed. Workers who retire at the same age with the same earning record generally receive similar benefit amounts regardless of the year in which they claim benefits and the ups and downs in the financial markets. Full story here: