Staking Your Claim Richard Quinn | October 24, 2019
WHEN SHOULD YOU claim Social Security? The optimum date for starting retirement benefits is the subject of much debate and analysis. For most people, however, it’s a simple matter of when they need the cash—and, indeed, many folks claim as soon as they’re age 62 and eligible. The experts can run models all they want. But when it comes to Social Security, it seems necessity and emotion rule.
One thing is clear, though: There’s no validity to taking your benefits as soon as possible, and thereby ending up with a permanently lower monthly benefit, simply because you believe Social Security won’t be there for you. Congress has failed to heed warnings from the program’s trustees for nearly 35 years. Still, Social Security isn’t going anywhere.
Take a look at the conclusion on page five of the latest annual report: Even when its trust fund is depleted, Social Security will still be able to cover 77% of scheduled benefits.
I love this quote from a recent article: “If you’re healthy and expect to live a long time, you should maximize benefits received late in life by delaying” the start of Social Security benefits. The problem: How could you possibly know to expect a long life? If you have the fortitude to look, you might try the handy life expectancy calculator on Bankrate.com.
If not, consider the Social Security Administration’s actuarial tables: At age 62, the life expectancy for a male is 21.6 years, at age 65 it’s 17.9 years and at 70 it’s 14.4 years. A female lives two to three years longer, on average.