How Do Clinton and Trump Compare on Social Security and Other Retirement Issues?

retirement issues Should retirement issues influence how you vote?We are in the midst of a presidential election like none that has ever come before.  And with record numbers of people turning age 65, retirement issues are important.

If you are at or approaching retirement age, you may wonder which candidate is a better bet for your interests as related to Social Security, health coverage and Medicare, and the stability and growth of the economy.

While it is really difficult to get an apples to apples comparison, here is what the candidates have to say about these retirement issues.

However, what follows is simply what the candidates say — we do not know what they will be able to do. It is important to note that many people do not trust either candidate. And, it is impossible to imagine how some of their campaign promises could ever actually be enacted.  (Will Mexico pay for a wall?)

We won’t really know how either of these candidates will perform until one is actually elected.

Social Security

When you think about retirement issues, Social Security tops the list.

There has been chatter around the future of Social Security for quite a while and it’s causing people to think about how much money they are putting toward their retirement. There is no doubt that the outcome of the 2016 election will have an effect on the future of Social Security as well as how Americans approach and save for retirement.

  • Trump on Social Security:  If the Republican candidate is elected on November 8, the common theme appears to be to leave Social Security alone and not cut any benefits. While Trump has not published a position on Social Security on his web site, things he has said indicate that he would keep the Social Security program pretty much the same.

While there have been various Republican proposals to evolve or privatize Social Security, it is not clear whether Trump would adopt these ideas or not.

  • Clinton on Social Security: Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has specifically discussed her plan for preserving the nation’s Social Security program. She hopes to keep the current system. She opposes privatization and raising the minimum retirement age and she wants to maintain cost of living adjustments.

To strengthen and expand the system she would raise taxes on upper-income earners. Her website also explains that she will expand Social Security benefits for widows and those who have taken time out of the paid workforce to care for a child or sick family member.

Medicare and Health Coverage

Medical costs are a huge and growing concern for retirees and for the federal government.  As someone thinking about retirement issues, you might care about where the candidates stand on:

Obamacare: This program mandates that all citizens have insurance.  The program also mandates that insurers affordably cover everyone — no matter their age or pre-existing conditions.  Of specific importance to older Americans, Obamacare currently makes early retirement health insurance more affordable and available than it was previously.

Medicare: Medicare subsidizes medical costs for people who are 65 and older.  How much will this program cover in the future? How much will it cost? How can it be sustained?

Medicaid: Should states make all the rules for this program?  How is eligibility determined?

  • Trump on Medicare and Health Coverage: According to the Trump web site, he intends to “completely repeal Obamacare.”

He also says that  he will lower health care costs for Americans by allowing individuals to use Health Savings Accounts (HSA). He intends to give the states the power to grant Medicaid benefits rather than the federal government having control. He also says he will enforce current immigration laws to restrict illegal immigrants from receiving health care.

  • Clinton on Medicare and Health Coverage: Clinton has worked for expanded health care access for many years.  According to the Clinton web site, Clinton intends to “defend and expand Obamacare.” She also hopes to bring down costs of this program.

Clinton shares that she will drive down drug costs for seniors and other Americans. Clinton’s plan will lower drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices with drug and biological manufacturers, demanding higher rebates and allowing Americans to import lower-cost drugs from foreign countries with approved safety standards, her website explains.

She also hopes to incentivize states to expand Medicaid and to increase funding for community health centers — making healthcare easier to access.

The Stability and Growth of the Economy

Oppenheimer Funds has published compelling research indicating that the President has very little impact on the stock market and economy.  We have seen roughly equal growth and declines under both Republican and Democratic leadership.

However, you can not help but wonder if the personality — rather than the party — of the winning candidate could have a significant impact on the economy.

Clinton has some big business backing, but she also worked for progressive causes like universal healthcare for most of her political career.

Trump is a wild card.  Many pundits are worried and think that he is an erratic and inflammatory leader. And, without much political experience, it is unclear how the domestic financial markets might react to his presidency.  And, what impact would he have on global politics and our increasingly global economy?

No One Can Foretell the Political Future, But You Can Strengthen Your Retirement Plan

Will this election actually influence your personal finances and quality of life?  Will changes in retirement issues impact your day to day finances?  Your answer probably depends on your personal perspective and interests.

However, no matter how you feel, it is important for you to think carefully about your own plans for retirement.  Your vote for president is important, but you can have a greater impact on your future by creating a detailed plan.  You should make sure that you know how much money you need and exactly how much you have now and will have in the future.  And consider different contingencies for unexpected events.

A detailed and robust retirement plan that looks at your savings, when you retire, how your expenses will evolve, when you start Social Security, how much out of pocket health expenses will cost and many other factors will help you feel prepared for whatever the future holds.

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