The Economic Perspective: “Benefits of Timing Social Security Correctly”

This is Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at the benefits of timing Social Security correctly. Mike, the money people receive from Social Security enables most recipients to be much better-off financially.  But there’s an important decision people have to make about when to begin receiving Social Security.  How significant is this decision?

Mike:  Summary Answer

  1. Based on the results from a new study, it is very, very important
  2. First, SS is important – pays out $1 trillion annually and accounts for one-third of all income received by retirees
  3. Issue is that annual amount received from SS rises the longer a person waits to begin it
  4. Most – 60% – begin taking SS at the first year it is available, age 62 – and only 4% wait until age 70, when the SS check is highest
  5. As a result, the new research shows most people will lose thousands of dollars – indeed, on average over $100,000 – over their lifetime compared to if had waited until age 70
  6. Doing so would cut the poverty rate among all retirees by 50%
  7. I’m MW

And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.