Stats on When People Take Social Security

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Leesbro63
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Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by Leesbro63 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:45 am

I recently ran across a post on social media about when to take SS. And, of course, the advice was to wait as long as possible, assuming decent health. The people went ballistic! Hundreds and hundreds of comments with every reason in the world to take SS at 62, mostly, and just a few at 66. It became obvious to me just how "in another universe" we Bogleheads are! The whole concept of longevity insurance...very very few people understand it, let alone accept it. So it made me wonder, is there a published set of stats that shows what percentage of people take SS at 62, 66 and 70 (or in between)? Even though I've been around the personal finance block for a long time, I was truly shocked at the financial illiteracy that I saw. (Granted, it was just a single sample). Are we truly that small a percentage of the population?

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by dbr » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:50 am

First hit in a Google search: https://www.fool.com/retirement/general ... ng-so.aspx


"Data source: Center for Retirement Research.

Using a weighted average of the data in this chart, we can approximate the average American's age when starting Social Security as 64 years old."

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:55 am

Leesbro63 wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:45 am
Are we truly that small a percentage of the population?
That 1% you keep hearing about.
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by jharkin » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:57 am

Its not just that most people dont understand it.. The vast majority of the population has no other savings and if they are not still working full time, HAVE to take it early to survive.

Both my and my wife's parents all took it early, in spite of my many attempts to explain to them why it was beneficial to wait. And they all worked past the age they started drawing.

The old saying "You can lead a horse to water....."

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:02 am

From 2008 to about 2015, people over 60 who got laid off or otherwise lost their jobs or business had few other options. They needed some income. If you have a nice little 401k and lost your job and needed to pay bills, taking SS at 62, was probably the wises investment move to take.
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by ColoRetiredGirl » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:05 am

While I plan to wait until 70 years of age to take SS, there is increasingly more noise about the fund will be depleted by 2035. Apparently, the people taking SS disability are causing the fund to deplete faster. Additionally, I have read we may have to take a 35% haircut on our expected funds. In any event, I plan to keep an eye on the noise and reconsider taking it at my FRA.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by dbr » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:05 am

Yes, if you are unemployed at 62 it is very likely you need the SS then. The people I know that for sure elected SS earlier than 70 did not have a choice in any practical sense.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by hexagon » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:07 am

Leesbro63 wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:45 am
The people went ballistic! Hundreds and hundreds of comments with every reason in the world to take SS at 62, mostly, and just a few at 66. It became obvious to me just how "in another universe" we Bogleheads are!
WhyNotUs wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:55 am
Leesbro63 wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:45 am
Are we truly that small a percentage of the population?
That 1% you keep hearing about.
The chart does show that a small percentage wait until 70 (4% of men/2% of women) but roughly 40% wait until 65-66 (not sure if the bump there reflects FRA or just that a lot of people retire at that age) so maybe not as bad as the comments suggest.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by smitcat » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:09 am

jharkin wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:57 am
Its not just that most people dont understand it.. The vast majority of the population has no other savings and if they are not still working full time, HAVE to take it early to survive.

Both my and my wife's parents all took it early, in spite of my many attempts to explain to them why it was beneficial to wait. And they all worked past the age they started drawing.

The old saying "You can lead a horse to water....."
Yes -- agreed 100% - the vast majority of retirees have little or no savings. So there is no decision to be made - they must take SS as early as they are out of work.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by HueyLD » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:48 am

I think the vast vast majority of people took social security benefit before the age of 70 due to a combination of factors and not all of them are financial.

(1). They needed the money for food.

(2). They waited a long time for the money and they wanted to have it as soon as possible. Show me the money!

(3). The divorce decree required them to file early.

(4). Some of their friends and family had died and the reality of mortality finally hit. Nobody knows when (s)he will expire and who wants to leave the money on the table? The average life expectancy may not apply individually.

(5). All the talks about entitlement programs reform and the trust fund running out of money caused more eligible people to file claims.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:53 am

And then there are some, admittedly few, who took SS at 62 because they had young children who would get benefits, and a spouse who would wait until age 70.

Not everyone filing at 62 “doesn’t get it.”

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by dodecahedron » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:04 am

Leesbro63 wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:45 am
I recently ran across a post on social media about when to take SS. And, of course, the advice was to wait as long as possible, assuming decent health.
"As long as possible assuming decent health" is not necessarily good generic advice for everyone.

There are many circumstances where it may be optimal for one spouse in a two-earner couple to claim early, or for a widow(er) or divorced person to claim early, or for a retiree with dependent young and/or disabled children to claim early. And of course, as mentioned above, there are many seniors who simply do not have the resources (other assets and/or continued ability to work) to wait.

I am a Boglehead in good health (knock on wood!). I am blessed to have the luxury of choice. I have assets that would easily allow me to defer claiming until 70, but I chose to claim my own work record retirement benefits at 62, and will claim my (much higher and undiminished) surviving spouse benefits when those maximize at my FRA of 66. There is no point of me waiting until 70 to claim my own work record benefits. My survivor benefits (which are unaffected by my prior claim for own record benefits and which do not deferral credits for waiting past FRA) will always be higher than my deferred own record benefits would have been.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by midareff » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:37 am

I started at 65 although I had enough assets to carry me to 70. I did it as I chose not to deplete those assets which I might need later in life, and no one knows what the market will do next. As it turned out those assets grew more than 55% in that period (70 now), so the difference I can afford in a larger $ WR more than compensates for the difference later SS would have made. Luck of the draw on that one.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by smitcat » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:38 am

From this chart it looks like the vast majority file when they stop working, so if they stop at 62 they file at 62 and if they stop at 65 they file at 65....

https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v71n4/v71n4p1.html

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:43 am

I would expect that every year that goes by is going to see more and more taking it at 62. Why? For one thing, the impending drop to zero of the ss trust fund, at which point, the benefits are likely going to be greatly reduced.

I ask my son (21 yo) when he would take SS and he just laughs and says "good one dad, that's going away before I could ever take it".
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by sunny_socal » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:44 am

I'll be pleasantly surprised if the SS system is still around when I'm old enough to get back my $$. I'll also be surprised if I actually get the $$ I'm due - I read somewhere that the benefits are reduced if you're working at the time.

My hope was this:
[1] Pull from my 401k
[2] Work
[3] AND get SS

I'll "retire" from my current profession but I fully intend to keep working in some capacity. I've seen too many people go downhill after retiring. Sitting on a sofa watching TV is not my idea of a good time.

We'll probably do the 2-stage SS: Me at 62, wife at 70

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by Leesbro63 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:00 pm

I agree that there are many various circumstances, some posted here, where people took SS before 70 and it made sense. But my observation is that many rationalize the REAL reason for taking SS before 70. And “the system will be broke by then” is the most common rationalization.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by itstoomuch » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:08 pm

Article this past week somewhere,
Whether one takes early or late SS, the money received is nearly the same, IF one lives to the actuarial age. If you live longer than that you are ahead with delayed SS. If you live less than, you are better off taking early SS.

One of my favorite pass-times on Sunday, is to read the obituaries. :annoyed :oops: :?
Rev012718; 4 Incm stream buckets: SS+pension; dfr'd GLWB VA & FI anntys, by time & $$ laddered; Discretionary; Rentals. LTCi. Own, not asset. Tax TBT%. Early SS. FundRatio (FR) >1.1 67/70yo

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by Billionaire » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:10 pm

As expected there are a lot of dogmatic opinions on the topic. Every person has their own unique perspective and opinion. In 2017, we had two friends die at the age of 55 and 60. I also had a couple of co-workers die at similar ages. They never had a chance to make the decision.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by neilpilot » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:13 pm

itstoomuch wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:08 pm
Article this past week somewhere,
Whether one takes early or late SS, the money received is nearly the same, IF one lives to the actuarial age. If you live longer than that you are ahead with delayed SS. If you live less than, you are better off taking early SS.

One of my favorite pass-times on Sunday, is to read the obituaries. :annoyed :oops: :?
This has been discussed many times on earlier threads. If you are a single male, you maybe correct although the SSA actuarial tables are a bit obsolete. If you are a single female, you are somewhat shortchanged by early SS since the tables SSA uses are unisex and females, on average, live longer. If you are married and the higher earner, you are definitely incorrect assuming the higher survivor benefit is of value to you.

When I say you are (in)correct, maybe I should say that the article is (in)correct. Many articles written on this subject are woefully remiss in disregarding the advantage of delay to boost the survivor benefit.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by Ron » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:17 pm

itstoomuch wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:08 pm
Article this past week somewhere,
Whether one takes early or late SS, the money received is nearly the same, IF one lives to the actuarial age. If you live longer than that you are ahead with delayed SS. If you live less than, you are better off taking early SS.

One of my favorite pass-times on Sunday, is to read the obituaries. :annoyed :oops: :?
For a single person, I would agree that it makes little difference. Those that are single can add their voice to the discussion.

However, for a married/partner situation, there are a lot more options to consider - not just taking it with only one person in mind.

As in all things financial, it all depends on your personal circumstances...

- Ron

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by itstoomuch » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:19 pm

Looking at our circumstances, We took early SS. Glad we did. Our retirement accounts are fairly large today given the prolonged Bull.
If we delayed SS, we would've tapped the accounts just when these accounts were/are growing faster than the delayed actuarial SS.

Very much like buying a house in Seattle: Do you wait until you accumulate a larger Down? or Buy now before the price rises?
Put wife on Amtrak (early AM today) to look at a rental purchase on a new build in Seattle area.
YMMV
Rev012718; 4 Incm stream buckets: SS+pension; dfr'd GLWB VA & FI anntys, by time & $$ laddered; Discretionary; Rentals. LTCi. Own, not asset. Tax TBT%. Early SS. FundRatio (FR) >1.1 67/70yo

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by stlutz » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:30 pm

From 2008 to about 2015, people over 60 who got laid off or otherwise lost their jobs or business had few other options. They needed some income. If you have a nice little 401k and lost your job and needed to pay bills, taking SS at 62, was probably the wises investment move to take.
This is an interesting point (at least the '08-'10 part). I guess there is a market-timing aspect to it--in 2009 one would have been better off holding onto their personal assets (assuming they were invested in stocks) and taking the Social Security earlier. For the person retiring today, the logic would probably be the opposite--better to spend your own money while the market is high.

I think the degree to which people "have" to take it early can be overstated. I just think it is very difficult to spend down one's own assets early in retirement. Whether one has saved a lot or a little, it always feels more prudent to delay using such savings until a later date. I also think the logic of getting the money now (by taking early SS) generally prevails.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by smitcat » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:09 pm

stlutz wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:30 pm
From 2008 to about 2015, people over 60 who got laid off or otherwise lost their jobs or business had few other options. They needed some income. If you have a nice little 401k and lost your job and needed to pay bills, taking SS at 62, was probably the wises investment move to take.
This is an interesting point (at least the '08-'10 part). I guess there is a market-timing aspect to it--in 2009 one would have been better off holding onto their personal assets (assuming they were invested in stocks) and taking the Social Security earlier. For the person retiring today, the logic would probably be the opposite--better to spend your own money while the market is high.

I think the degree to which people "have" to take it early can be overstated. I just think it is very difficult to spend down one's own assets early in retirement. Whether one has saved a lot or a little, it always feels more prudent to delay using such savings until a later date. I also think the logic of getting the money now (by taking early SS) generally prevails.
Perhaps plug the options into the IORP or RPM calculators and see what they tell you about the choices.

"I think the degree to which people "have" to take it early can be overstated."
With the average retiree complete net worth being somewhare around $150K I believe your are misinformed here.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by smitcat » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:11 pm

itstoomuch wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:19 pm
Looking at our circumstances, We took early SS. Glad we did. Our retirement accounts are fairly large today given the prolonged Bull.
If we delayed SS, we would've tapped the accounts just when these accounts were/are growing faster than the delayed actuarial SS.

Very much like buying a house in Seattle: Do you wait until you accumulate a larger Down? or Buy now before the price rises?
Put wife on Amtrak (early AM today) to look at a rental purchase on a new build in Seattle area.
YMMV
Taking it early allowed for larger accounts but now you have less SS and SS benefits from now on. Perhaps use the larger accounts to purchase an inflation adjusted SPIA to cover the base.
Of course if you already know which way the stock and real estate markets will be going its much easier to make a good choice.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by ETCS10 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:23 pm

Wife is thinking about taking it at 62 in a few months. The difference between 62 and 66 is $200, her work history has been very minimal only 5 years out of the past 35 over $10k, 9 between $5-$10k and the rest below $5k or zero. Currently she works at a store bakery making about $800 a month, got tired of sitting around the house all day. Between her pay and SS she would bring in approx $1300 a month. This is her play money and spoiling the grandkids cash. I am 50 and pay all the bills and save/invest roughly $30k a year between my pension(retired military) and current job, $75k net.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by SGM » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:27 pm

I filed and suspended at FRA and DW took a restricted spousal benefit at her FRA. This allows her to collect half of my SS at my PIA primary insurance amount while hers grows until age 70. We value the potential higher cost of living adjusted amount for both of us while alive and the higher amount should one of us outlive the other. We also took the time between 62 and 70 to convert traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. I have advised several friends who were waiting until 70 to take spousal benefits at FRA and they have been very grateful for the advice. Of course, the law changed on April 30 of 2016 to limit the strategy as it was considered unfair. I saw this coming from attending the SS retirement symposium over the last several years as the researchers tend to recommend to SS and the Feds to look out more for those with less assets. We BH types can take care of ourselves. It was also considered unfair because only knowledgeable folks took advantage of the file and suspend strategy and restricted benefits strategy.

I have friends who took SS at 62 because they were afraid they would die young and they did not have to take early SS because they had excellent pensions. They are adamant that they made the correct decision. However, I know many widows with no or smaller pensions who regret that their higher earning spouse did not delay SS so that they would have more live on in their 90s.

I have seen the both blogs mentioned above. The average age for taking SS has creeped up a little bit recently.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:30 pm

But it’s personal decision. I’m in part of a couple whose age difference allows me to stretch my SS for a long time. But honestly, had we known they would claw back some money we took in 2016, we would have delayed taking my husband’s SS until at least FRA or one year later. But what’s done is done.
I think perhaps people are slowly getting smarter. I read more people are thinking of delaying than before. Before it was always suggested taking it when you turn 62, now it’s not a sure decision either. I know I’m in that category. Years ago I would never have thought I would get any SS, then I thought I would take out at FRA, now I’m definitely in the camp of taking it at 70. Why? I need space for Roth conversion. In fact, I will be happy to take it at 75, if I get credit for delaying. But SS is a very small part of my retirement income. Taking it at 62, make it even smaller. So why not delaying and make the best of it, so that’s how it becomes longevity insurance for me.
Last edited by DrGoogle2017 on Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:30 pm

You would also take SS early if you believed you wouldn't live long enough for waiting to make sense. You could come from a family that dies young. You could have a terminal disease. You could truly believe that by taking the money and investing it you'll do better than waiting until FRA or 70. Your age could be mismatched with your spouses and your benefit could be very small. You're simply taking it early because you'll switch to your spouses benefit later on anyway. That's what my inlaws did. MIL worked just enough to qualify for SS. She took benefits at 62, then when her husband turned 66 she switched to half his benefit and got a $500/mo raise.

You could also not have any other way of supporting yourself.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by itstoomuch » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:31 pm

Smitcat,
Basically taking SS early, we exercised the Call for SS. And placed a long Put on IRA accounts.

This problem is similar to our GLWB VA. Two accounts: The Actual Accumulation (deferred IRA) and Income Acct (SS, pension). We took the SS early and leaving the option to put the deferred IRAs to a later date. We hedged the SS decision by use of GLWB VA purchased earlier. We are approaching the strike date on the Annuities. Our decision as you know is complicated.
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by dm200 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:42 pm

My "guess" is that, on average, the folks who take SS earlier would tend to be the ones with shorter lifespans - NOT because of calculations they have done, but rather because those with health issues/risks of a shorter life tend to be more financially in need.

A few decades ago, as my wife's parents got into the SS eligibility age, I thought they should wait - for the reasons often cited here. They did not and took reduced amounts earlier. They were not well off and my father-in-law worked very hard his whole life.

As it turned out - they were right. Collecting SS allowed my father-in-law to stop his very physically demanding job and both of them to have some time and money to do a few things in retirement. Both died well before a delay would have even come close to "breaking even".

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by Leif » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:47 pm

sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:44 am
I'll be pleasantly surprised if the SS system is still around when I'm old enough to get back my $$.
Interesting. I was telling others the same thing about 30 years ago.
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by Diogenes » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:47 pm

It’s amusing to hear the theory that those that take SS before 70 do so because they “don’t get it.”

There are many BH’s who certainly “get it” and still plan to have at least one of the couple take it at 62 or FRA. In my case, having my spouse claim at 62 will enable us to continue minimal reduction from our investments. Claiming at 66 would of course be more, but would take her 8 years until 74 to just break even. I’ll let mine ride until 70 since we don’t need the extra money. Since we are already well over the income that makes Roth conversions attractive due to pensions,that wasn’t a factor either.

We prefer to keep our own money as long as possible (which can be passed in the estate, unlike future SS) and not rely on a promise from the government which could be altered in any number of ways...

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by celia » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:57 pm

hexagon wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:07 am
The chart does show that a small percentage wait until 70 (4% of men/2% of women) but roughly 40% wait until 65-66 (not sure if the bump there reflects FRA or just that a lot of people retire at that age) so maybe not as bad as the comments suggest.
That bump around FRA is partially due to spousal benefits for those who are waiting to 70 to collect on their own work record. They used to be able to file at FRA and collect half of their spouse's SS.
midareff wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:37 am
I started at 65 although I had enough assets to carry me to 70. I did it as I chose not to deplete those assets which I might need later in life, and no one knows what the market will do next. As it turned out those assets grew more than 55% in that period (70 now), so the difference I can afford in a larger $ WR more than compensates for the difference later SS would have made. Luck of the draw on that one.
I guess you didn't need the space that SS took up in your tax brackets to do Roth conversions instead. (This is to alert others who may be considering your idea.)

The argument that SS may not be there in the future has been around as long as I can remember. But Congress can, and has, changed the rules. For example, spousal benefits for whose who will start collecting their own benefit at 70 will not be collected after all the current beneficiaries turn 70.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by Kalo » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:31 pm

I'm planning to delay because I want to do Roth conversions, and for the old age insurance aspect. Longevity runs in my family, although I don't feel particularly confident I will live a long life myself.

I actually have more confidence that SS will be there for me than I do in the markets providing an adequate return to offset not delaying. And even if they do, the ride would likely be bumpy. SS gives you COLAs as inflation occurs (with a slight delay). The market beats inflation, in the long run, but the ride is too volatile for an old person.

And as for dying before collecting, or not breaking even. No concern at all. It's insurance. For me, collecting is not the point. It's having it available if I need it, and I won't need it if I'm no longer living.

This is all specific to my circumstances. I understand that there are many legitimate reasons to collect early. I just think that fear of the program not being there, and/or the idea that one can beat the game with stock market returns, is misguided.

Kalo
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by smitcat » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:32 pm

itstoomuch wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:31 pm
Smitcat,
Basically taking SS early, we exercised the Call for SS. And placed a long Put on IRA accounts.

This problem is similar to our GLWB VA. Two accounts: The Actual Accumulation (deferred IRA) and Income Acct (SS, pension). We took the SS early and leaving the option to put the deferred IRAs to a later date. We hedged the SS decision by use of GLWB VA purchased earlier. We are approaching the strike date on the Annuities. Our decision as you know is complicated.
You really did not need to do any Roth conversions. Really did not anticipate the inheritance and mostly needed to take it early. The market went well for your timing and you realized the inheritance over the early retire years. Now the other side of the choice comes into play and you need to decide what to do with the annuities and how they will provide protection for the lasting spouse and inflation.
I would think that the decisions were pretty good but they are not completed at this time.
But I would say that taking it early was a factor of need and the results were affected by both luck and skill.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by midareff » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:07 pm

celia wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:57 pm

midareff wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:37 am
I started at 65 although I had enough assets to carry me to 70. I did it as I chose not to deplete those assets which I might need later in life, and no one knows what the market will do next. As it turned out those assets grew more than 55% in that period (70 now), so the difference I can afford in a larger $ WR more than compensates for the difference later SS would have made. Luck of the draw on that one.
I guess you didn't need the space that SS took up in your tax brackets to do Roth conversions instead. (This is to alert others who may be considering your idea.)

The argument that SS may not be there in the future has been around as long as I can remember. But Congress can, and has, changed the rules. For example, spousal benefits for whose who will start collecting their own benefit at 70 will not be collected after all the current beneficiaries turn 70.
Not quite true..... I draw from tax-ex bonds in taxable (+dividends) and rebalanced into them as/when needed, being mindful of short and long term. I also did Roth conversions to the top of the (calculated, but I calculate good) 15% bracket; 2015, 2016, 2017. My dilemma now, as cited in another thread is appropriate WR and the go-go stage of retirement and the travel itch.

smitcat
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by smitcat » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:39 pm

midareff wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:07 pm
celia wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:57 pm

midareff wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:37 am
I started at 65 although I had enough assets to carry me to 70. I did it as I chose not to deplete those assets which I might need later in life, and no one knows what the market will do next. As it turned out those assets grew more than 55% in that period (70 now), so the difference I can afford in a larger $ WR more than compensates for the difference later SS would have made. Luck of the draw on that one.
I guess you didn't need the space that SS took up in your tax brackets to do Roth conversions instead. (This is to alert others who may be considering your idea.)

The argument that SS may not be there in the future has been around as long as I can remember. But Congress can, and has, changed the rules. For example, spousal benefits for whose who will start collecting their own benefit at 70 will not be collected after all the current beneficiaries turn 70.
Not quite true..... I draw from tax-ex bonds in taxable (+dividends) and rebalanced into them as/when needed, being mindful of short and long term. I also did Roth conversions to the top of the (calculated, but I calculate good) 15% bracket; 2015, 2016, 2017. My dilemma now, as cited in another thread is appropriate WR and the go-go stage of retirement and the travel itch.
"I also did Roth conversions to the top of the (calculated, but I calculate good) 15% bracket; 2015, 2016, 2017."
That worked well for your specific situation but many need more time and headspace to do those conversions.
This is why everyone needs to do their own calculations with their own numbers and not just read a post like this one.
The IORP calculator and the RPM calculator/spreadsheet will greatly assist in the decision process but evaluating options for SS, Roth converts and many other variables while utilizing your personal numbers and ages.

TravelforFun
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by TravelforFun » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:52 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:53 am
And then there are some, admittedly few, who took SS at 62 because they had young children who would get benefits, and a spouse who would wait until age 70.

Not everyone filing at 62 “doesn’t get it.”

🍅 🍅
This is our situation. Wife will file for benefits at 62 this year and that would allow me to file for spousal while I wait until 70. All kinds of different strategies.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by 2015 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:54 pm

Single. Delaying until 70 and viewing it strictly as longevity insurance. Not interested in break even calculations. Based on past and current health status and practices possibility is a longer than most lifespan. OTOH, absolutely not interested in lifespan, only healthspan, and absolutely not interested in long term care of any type (nothing to do with affordability). Retired and engaging in roth conversions until 70 and perhaps even after.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by Spirit Rider » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:28 pm

Unfortunately, I have seen many people take SS at 62 just because they could. Many of them were still working and taking SS early allowed them to live even further beyond their means.

Don't even get me started on one friend with < $100K in his 401k, took an in-service withdrawal as soon as he turned 59 1/2 so his wife could get a new Luxury SUV.

While many BHs take SS at 62 as part of a very specific strategy. A lot of the general public look at it like another HELOC to plunder because they have no equity left in their house.

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midareff
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by midareff » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:04 pm

smitcat wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:39 pm
midareff wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:07 pm
celia wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:57 pm

midareff wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:37 am
I started at 65 although I had enough assets to carry me to 70. I did it as I chose not to deplete those assets which I might need later in life, and no one knows what the market will do next. As it turned out those assets grew more than 55% in that period (70 now), so the difference I can afford in a larger $ WR more than compensates for the difference later SS would have made. Luck of the draw on that one.
I guess you didn't need the space that SS took up in your tax brackets to do Roth conversions instead. (This is to alert others who may be considering your idea.)

The argument that SS may not be there in the future has been around as long as I can remember. But Congress can, and has, changed the rules. For example, spousal benefits for whose who will start collecting their own benefit at 70 will not be collected after all the current beneficiaries turn 70.
Not quite true..... I draw from tax-ex bonds in taxable (+dividends) and rebalanced into them as/when needed, being mindful of short and long term. I also did Roth conversions to the top of the (calculated, but I calculate good) 15% bracket; 2015, 2016, 2017. My dilemma now, as cited in another thread is appropriate WR and the go-go stage of retirement and the travel itch.
"I also did Roth conversions to the top of the (calculated, but I calculate good) 15% bracket; 2015, 2016, 2017."
That worked well for your specific situation but many need more time and headspace to do those conversions.
This is why everyone needs to do their own calculations with their own numbers and not just read a post like this one.
The IORP calculator and the RPM calculator/spreadsheet will greatly assist in the decision process but evaluating options for SS, Roth converts and many other variables while utilizing your personal numbers and ages.
Cat... that is absolutely true and what worked for me might not work for anyone else. Every situation is different and everyone needs to do their specific situation calculations, as best they can, and hope Mr. Market agrees with them. There are times when luck is much more important than the science of mathematics.

North Texas Cajun
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by North Texas Cajun » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:55 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:00 pm
I agree that there are many various circumstances, some posted here, where people took SS before 70 and it made sense. But my observation is that many rationalize the REAL reason for taking SS before 70. And “the system will be broke by then” is the most common rationalization.
There is a reason for taking SS before 70 which is related to “the system will be broke by then”. IMO, people who use this related reason are not rationalizing. Unfortunately, the moderators have decided that this related reason cannot be discussed at Bogleheads.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by North Texas Cajun » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:01 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:13 pm
itstoomuch wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:08 pm
Article this past week somewhere,
Whether one takes early or late SS, the money received is nearly the same, IF one lives to the actuarial age. If you live longer than that you are ahead with delayed SS. If you live less than, you are better off taking early SS.

One of my favorite pass-times on Sunday, is to read the obituaries. :annoyed :oops: :?
This has been discussed many times on earlier threads. If you are a single male, you maybe correct although the SSA actuarial tables are a bit obsolete. If you are a single female, you are somewhat shortchanged by early SS since the tables SSA uses are unisex and females, on average, live longer. If you are married and the higher earner, you are definitely incorrect assuming the higher survivor benefit is of value to you.

When I say you are (in)correct, maybe I should say that the article is (in)correct. Many articles written on this subject are woefully remiss in disregarding the advantage of delay to boost the survivor benefit.
There are some of us who have a valid reason to believe we will not survive to our 80s. The actuarial tables may be valid for the total population, but perhaps not for some who already have chronic diseases.

Of course, it is very easy for some on this thread to decide that we are rationalizing or that we are ignorant.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by JBTX » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:16 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:53 am
And then there are some, admittedly few, who took SS at 62 because they had young children who would get benefits, and a spouse who would wait until age 70.

Not everyone filing at 62 “doesn’t get it.”

🍅 🍅
We have an autistic son who very well may be eligible for disability. If I understand it correctly the difference in SSDI and SSI will be about $700 a month. I have always assumed we would defer SS but that could definitely change the equation.

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auntie
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by auntie » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:21 pm

Leif wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:47 pm
sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:44 am
I'll be pleasantly surprised if the SS system is still around when I'm old enough to get back my $$.
Interesting. I was telling others the same thing about 30 years ago.
Me too, but more like 50 years ago.
High risk does not equal high reward. It equals high risk of no reward.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by neilpilot » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:26 pm

North Texas Cajun wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:01 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:13 pm
itstoomuch wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:08 pm
Article this past week somewhere,
Whether one takes early or late SS, the money received is nearly the same, IF one lives to the actuarial age. If you live longer than that you are ahead with delayed SS. If you live less than, you are better off taking early SS.

One of my favorite pass-times on Sunday, is to read the obituaries. :annoyed :oops: :?
This has been discussed many times on earlier threads. If you are a single male, you maybe correct although the SSA actuarial tables are a bit obsolete. If you are a single female, you are somewhat shortchanged by early SS since the tables SSA uses are unisex and females, on average, live longer. If you are married and the higher earner, you are definitely incorrect assuming the higher survivor benefit is of value to you.

When I say you are (in)correct, maybe I should say that the article is (in)correct. Many articles written on this subject are woefully remiss in disregarding the advantage of delay to boost the survivor benefit.
There are some of us who have a valid reason to believe we will not survive to our 80s. The actuarial tables may be valid for the total population, but perhaps not for some who already have chronic diseases.

Of course, it is very easy for some on this thread to decide that we are rationalizing or that we are ignorant.
My post was simply in response to istoomuch's contention that the SSA's actuarial tables mean "Whether one takes early or late SS, the money received is nearly the same, IF one lives to the actuarial age." As I indicated, it is not. As an example, it would be a mistake for both persons in a marriage to take their SS early simply because they believed what the article istoomuch links to, without first considering that one of them is likely to eventually experience lower survivor benefits at the same time that they potentially loose pension income and become subject to single filer tax rates.

I never suggested that if you expect an early demise, you should delay benefits, or even that everyone should rely on any actuarial table.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by dwickenh » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:48 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:43 am
I would expect that every year that goes by is going to see more and more taking it at 62. Why? For one thing, the impending drop to zero of the ss trust fund, at which point, the benefits are likely going to be greatly reduced.

I ask my son (21 yo) when he would take SS and he just laughs and says "good one dad, that's going away before I could ever take it".
I am 63, and we said the same thing when I was 21.....
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:29 pm

I believe delaying SS will help with longevity, market, and inflation risk. The 4th one is spending. All risks for outliving your retirement money. 3 out of 4 is not bad hedge.
Yes there is possibility of reduced SS in the future, but I don’t think those who take it at 62 will be spared either. If anything, I think they will come out worse.

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Re: Stats on When People Take Social Security

Post by itstoomuch » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:55 pm

itstoomuch wrote:Article this past week somewhere,
Whether one takes early or late SS, the money received is nearly the same, IF one lives to the actuarial age. If you live longer than that you are ahead with delayed SS. If you live less than, you are better off taking early SS.
itstoomuch wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:31 pm
Smitcat,
Basically taking SS early, we exercised the Call for SS. And placed a long Put on IRA accounts.

This problem is similar to our GLWB VA. Two accounts: The Actual Accumulation (deferred IRA) and Income Acct (SS, pension). We took the SS early and leaving the option to put the deferred IRAs to a later date. We hedged the SS decision by use of GLWB VA purchased earlier. We are approaching the strike date on the Annuities. Our decision as you know is complicated.
Found the article: by Googling: " 3 Reasons why People take SS early " Other good articles that support other comments.
https://www.fool.com/retirement/2018/01 ... enefi.aspx
"Reason No. 2: It's (probably) a wash
Here's the main reason why many people choose to start collecting Social Security later than their full retirement age: The longer you wait, until age 70, the bigger your checks will be. For every year beyond your full retirement age that you delay, your benefits will increase in value by about 8% -- up to age 70. So if you delay from 67 to 70, you can make your checks about 24% bigger. That's a meaningful difference: If you were expecting to collect $2,000 per month ($24,000 per year), you would instead receive $2,480 per month (or nearly $30,000 annually).

Given that, it may seem like a no-brainer decision to hang on as long as you can before claiming your benefits. It's not, though. As the SSA has explained, "If you live to the average life expectancy for someone your age, you will receive about the same amount in lifetime benefits no matter whether you choose to start receiving benefits at age 62, full retirement age, age 70 or any age in between." In other words, the system is designed so that for those who live average-length lives, it will wash in terms of total benefits received no matter when you start collecting. After all, if you delay starting to collect from ages 67 to 70, you will miss out on three years' worth of payments (albeit smaller ones) -- that's 36 payments.[italics added]

Delaying starting to collect does make sense in some cases, of course. Maybe you're perfectly happy working and want to work until your late 60s or age 70 or beyond. Perhaps many people in your family have enjoyed very long lives, in which case collecting bigger checks for a longer-than-average time can be worth it. For many of us, however, delaying won't be very worthwhile."

This is also the primary reason why I may not buy a SPIA.
The secondary reason is that one really doesn't know how much "mortality credits" does the annuity company adds to the premium.
The 3rd reason, is that my BIL is an actuary and corporate officer of an insurance & annuity company. :annoyed

YMMV :sharebeer
Last edited by itstoomuch on Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Rev012718; 4 Incm stream buckets: SS+pension; dfr'd GLWB VA & FI anntys, by time & $$ laddered; Discretionary; Rentals. LTCi. Own, not asset. Tax TBT%. Early SS. FundRatio (FR) >1.1 67/70yo

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