How important is Social Security for retirement?

For most Americans,Social Security is essential for retirement. Just over 3 in 5 seniors rely on Social Security benefits for most of their income. And Social Security’s importance is increasing. Americans have traditionally relied on the “three-legged stool” – Social Security, employer pensions, and personal savings (including home equity) – to have sufficient income for retirement. But employer pension plans are disappearing, most Americans have been unable to accumulate meaningful savings in 401(k)s/IRAs, and homeownership rates and housing values have declined. For many, Social Security is the only stable leg of the “three-legged stool.”