Social Security is frequently mentioned and discussed in The Confident Retirement Journey because it's a big part of the retirement-planning puzzle. One of our bigger challenges with clients approaching retirement is to convince them that—in many cases—it makes sense to delay taking Social security benefits. A recent article on CBS MoneyWatch discusses how words used to describe benefits can significantly influence decisions. Behavioral scientists call this phenomenon "framing."
Maybe instead of saying “You can file for early benefits at 62” (who wouldn't want an early benefit of any kind?), we should be advising “You can file for reduced or the lowest benefits at 62.” Or instead of “Consider delaying your benefit to age 70,” it should be phrased “Consider filing for your maximum benefit at your maximum retirement age of 70.”
Regardless of the Social Security terminology, the decision of when to file, suspend, and take benefits is a complex with lifetime consequences. Sometimes claiming early does make sense, but you won’t know until you’ve considered the BIG picture. Your Social Security decision needs to integrate spousal age differences, projected benefits, work, other assets, health, earnings history, and more. Seek advice from a knowlegeable financial adisor. Absent that, I hope that The Confident Retirement Journey will help you put your decision into context.