During the first Republican presidential debate, candidate Nikki Haley proposed raising the retirement age for young Americans as a means of preventing social security funds from running out.

To find out how young Americans themselves feel about this issue, in August, ResumeBuilder.com surveyed over 700 Gen Zers and millennials.

Key findings:

  • 51% of millennials and Gen Zers want to lower the full retirement age; 6 in 10 say it should be changed to age 60 or lower
  • Majority cite opening up job opportunities for younger workers as reason why
  • 16% say the retirement age should be raised, and 34% say it should stay the same
  • Two-thirds are counting on social security funds themselves, yet 4 in 10 believe it is unlikely funds will be available
  • 3 in 4 believe wealthy Americans should not qualify for social security

51% of Young Americans Want to Lower the Retirement Age

Among millennials and Gen Zers surveyed, more than half believe the retirement age should be lowered. Of this group, the majority (59%) say the retirement age should be changed to age 60 or lower.

Fifty-five percent believe this change should take place for everyone, while the minority favor a slower rollout of the changes over time that would affect younger generations.

Reasons respondents gave for wanting to lower the retirement age include to open up job opportunities for younger workers (75%) and to remove older workers from positions of power (38%).

“There’s real merit to the idea of lowering the retirement age,” says Sudhir Khatwani, Director of The Money Mongers. “For one, it could open up jobs for us younger folks in this crazy competitive market.

“Then there’s the whole old vs. young dynamic at work. We’ve all seen the eye-rolls over tech or different work styles. Getting some fresh blood in might ease that tension. And let’s not forget about our seasoned pros – they’ve been at it for ages, and they’ve earned that early sunset. Feels like a win for everyone, if you ask me,” Khatwani says.

Young Americans also expressed sympathy for older workers, writing in responses such as:

  • “To give people a chance to live their life longer. Working all the time is not a life. So people should be able to spend it with their loved ones as much as possible.”
  • “A good amount of people 60 and older have a lot of health issues and they should have the option to retire. People shouldn’t have to work til their lives are half over and never get to enjoy it or the benefits of their hard-earned money.”

“I’m not surprised that the majority of Gen Zers and millennials support lowering the retirement age,” says Julia Toothacre, Resume and Career Strategist at ResumeBuilder.com. “Gen Z and millennials tend to focus more on balance and enjoying life than working.

“I’ve seen millennial values shift throughout the years from being focused on work and promotions to now being more focused on family and having time to live their lives. With Gen Z, I’ve seen the need for balance start much earlier, so it makes sense that they would also be in favor of lowering the social security age,” Toothacre says.

4 in 10 Gen Zers and Millennials Doubtful That Social Security Will be Available for Them

Despite more than half of respondents being in favor of lowering the retirement age, 41% say they believe it is ‘somewhat’ (26%) or ‘very unlikely’ (15%) that social security funds will be available for them by the time they are eligible. However, two-thirds say they are still ‘somewhat’ (35%) or ‘very much’ (32%) counting on social security to be available to them.

3 in 4 Say Social Security Should Not be Available to the Wealthy

Three-quarters of millennials and Gen Zers ‘somewhat’ (39%) or ‘strongly agree’ (36%) that those who have a lot of wealth should not be able to receive social security payments, while 26% ‘somewhat’ (17%) or ‘strongly disagree’ (9%).

1 in 6 Believe the Retirement Age Should be Raised

Sixteen percent of Americans in this age group believe the full retirement age should be raised. Of this group, 51% say it should be raised to age 68 or 69, 30% to age 70-72, and 6% to age 73 or above, while 15% of respondents are unsure.

Forty-four percent of respondents in this group believe this change should take effect for everyone, while 56% believe it should be rolled out over future generations.

Reasons respondents selected for why they believe the retirement age should be raised include to prevent social security funds from running out (47%), to prevent Medicare funds from running out (43%), because people live longer now than they used to so they should work longer (40%), and to punish older Americans (9%).

“Early retirement exits cannot magically solve the generational tension or gap in the workplace,” says Daniel Morris, Founder of My Caring Plan. “Instead, I strongly advocate for fostering environments that encourage intergenerational knowledge sharing.

“It’s about valuing the vitality of youth as much as the wisdom of age. The key is recognizing the value every generation brings and fostering a culture of mutual respect and learning.”


This online poll was commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted on SurveyMonkey Audience starting August 31, 2023. Respondents consist of a national sample that was randomly selected from a U.S. panel and balanced according to U.S. census data for age, gender, and region.

Overall, 703 respondents between the ages of 18 and 43 completed the survey. Learn more about SurveyMonkey’s methodology or contact [email protected] for more information.