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Alfred E. Neuman might need to worry -- about Social Security

Alfred E. Neuman.

Right about now you’re thinking. Alfred E. Neuman? He’s not even a real person.

True. He was dreamed up by Mad Magazine in 1954, with big ears, a gap-toothed grin, and an unforgettable theme song.

He sang, “What, me worry? I don’t even care.”   

Ah, but should he care? 

Holly Kylen is a financial adviser at ING Financial Partners*. She says, “Alfred needs to worry.”

After all, Kylen says, Neuman turns 59 in November.

“He needs to stop and take inventory and say, holy crap," she says. "This may not work the way I thought it was going to work.”

Kylen says no one really knows how things will work if the Social Security trust funds run out of money. The government says the checks would still come. But they would be about 25 percent smaller.

Charles Campbell is with Eagle Financial Publications. He says Neuman, and everybody else, should start setting aside one or two percent more of their paychecks toward retirement.

He explains, “It’s a difference of you living in Florida in a nice retirement place as opposed to working as a greeter at Walmart because you didn’t save properly for your retirement.”  

Stuart Ritter is a financial planner for T Rowe Price. He says Neuman doesn’t have to freak out. He just has to save that little bit extra.

“If he takes some small steps to make sure he has more money than he otherwise would then no, he doesn’t have to worry,” Ritter says.

Cue the Neuman song.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified ING Financial Partners. The text has been corrected. 

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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