With Gen Y unemployment at record-high levels, you can’t really blame young people for having a glass-half-empty attitude when it comes to retirement security, particularly as it pertains to Social Security.

According to a poll of 642 18- to 29-year-olds conducted by the Strategic Research Institute at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., 50% don’t believe Social Security will exist by the time they become age-eligible for the program at 67. Another 28% think the program will be around, but will provide a much smaller benefit. Just 5% expect benefits to be the same as they are to current beneficiaries.

Now, while there isn’t much that benefits professionals can do to shore up the future of Social Security, the poll also reveals that about four in 10 Gen Yers are saving for retirement. In addition, the ones who don’t think Social Security will be available also are the least likely to be saving.

Clearly, room for improvement. I know, I know. You’ve talked up the retirement plan until you’re blue. But maybe it’s time for a different tactic. Since half of Millennials don’t think Social Security will be there, and more than half aren’t saving anything for retirement, just ask them point-blank: What are you planning to live on? A wing and a prayer isn’t a good life plan.

Other ideas for getting through to Gen Y? Share them in the comments.

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