Social Security shouldn’t be the bulk of an effective retirement plan, advisors say.

Critics charge Social Security, as the primary retirement savings tool and biggest tax for many Americans, is a bad deal because payments are puny.

It provides an average annual payment of some $17,000. The average recipient receives $1,461 a month, although most seniors pay a tax on these payments. They were untaxed until the 1980s.

Many advisors say they are wary about building a substantial part of a retirement plan around Social Security.

“I tell people to be very conservative about Social Security payments in building a retirement plan,” says Ronald Roge, a Bohemia, N.Y., advisor. “It should be no more than a third of your income.”

Charles Hughes, a Bay Shore, N.Y., advisor, warns that “if a client is expecting to get most of his income from Social Security, then there is very little I can do to help.”

Critics complain it provides a lousy return, and taxpayers would do better with private investments.

“Americans would be better off keeping their payroll tax contributions and putting them into private retirement accounts than having to sacrifice them to the government’s broken Social Security system,” according to the Heritage Foundation’s study “Is Social Security Worth Its Cost?”

Social Security officials say the program provides value because it includes disability as well as retirement income coverage.

Still, the Heritage Foundation study says younger workers are the biggest losers under the current Social Security system. The returns on Social Security taxes will be between negative 0.04% and negative 14.53%, it says.

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