Read the following. That first sentence is an outright lie. It is also a example of a biased press that tries to inflame with misleading “facts.”
While many people contend the moneys are in a “trust fund,” they aren’t. Most revenues are paid out to current beneficiaries, while the government and future workers are left with an IOU to cover the next generation of beneficiaries. Source: Intro paragraph from the Seattle Times 3-24-17
What they are saying in effect is that if you invest your IRA or 401k in bond funds the money is not in your plan because the bond issuers only owe you money.
These kinds of misinformation messages only make it harder to solve the Social Security fiscal problem.
The accurate statement is that the Social Security trust holds $2.8 trillion in US Treasury bonds; what they call IOUs. Those bonds pay the Trust nearly $100 million a year in interest.
If you hold a US Savings bond, the government has left you with an IOU too. If you invest in municipal bonds, those are IOUs as well.
At present and since 2010 100% of incoming payroll taxes are used immediately to pay benefits. In addition, interest on those “IOUs is also used to pay current benefits. And by 2035 – that’s only 18 years – all those IOUs will be paid back to pay benefits and the trust fund will be depleted.