We all have a love-hate relationship with election years. We hope to hear what our future leaders will do to improve our country. If they want our votes they will develop policies meant to improve our lives…in theory. But we must sift through an ever-rising gush of low comedy and political dross to find a shrinking yield of policy nuggets.

The one nugget that should matter to all of us---young or old, struggling or well-to-do---is Social Security policy.

Yet when Social Security appears in a candidate’s platform, it is too often low-hanging fruit, ripe for the picking by a politician desperate to appear financially responsible.

If that doesn’t scare you, maybe it should. With Social Security accounting for the only income for those in the bottom 50 percent of wealth, it literally keeps roofs overhead and food on the table for many. Even the top 20 percent count on Social Security to provide a full one-third of their retirement income.

It’s only when we get into the top 10 percent of households that retirement savings exceeds the virtual wealth of social security.

Knowing this, we can’t call Social Security a perk, as some do. It is sustenance for the majority of our growing retiree population. Yet, Social Security is in a precarious situation. Those in their 40’s or younger will feel it most keenly.

What can you do?, You can create your own policy, even if the candidates can’t or won’t. You have options for receiving Social Security. They can make a real difference in your retirement.

If you can take the urgency out of the decision and develop a clear strategy, you will come out ahead.