Despite the fact that delaying the start of your Social Security benefits until age 70 means a 32% increase in the amount you would receive, only 10% of non-retired Americans between the ages of 60 and 65 plan to wait for the larger payout, according to the 2023 Schroders U.S. Retirement Survey.
Consider working with a financial advisor to make sure you get the retirement income stream that will meet your needs.
Why Some Take Social Security Before Full Retirement Age (FRA)
People who wait until after they reach their full retirement age – which is 67 for anyone born in or after 1960 – receive an 8% increase in their monthly benefit payments for every year they delay claiming Social Security up until age 70. Over the course of a 20-years or longer retirement, the difference equals a significant amount of retirement income.
Despite that, the study found that 40% of the respondents who still were working said they plan to take their Social Security benefits between the ages of 62 and 65, leaving them short of qualifying for their maximum retirement benefits – even though they are aware that waiting longer would earn them higher payments.
Rather, respondents had other concerns: 44% said they were so worried that Social Security would run out of money that they would take benefits earlier to maximize the amount of money they’d collect. Another 36% said they expect to claim benefits before age 70 because they know they’ll need the money sooner.
“We have a crisis of confidence in the Social Security system and it’s costing American workers real money,” said Deb Boyden, head of U.S. Defined Contribution at Schroders. “Fear about the stability of Social Security has people walking away from money that could improve their quality of life in retirement. Many are not even waiting for their full benefit let alone the maximum, which means they will have to create more income on their own, making it even more important to save and invest earlier for retirement.”
Those fears stem from reports that the Old-Age & Survivors Insurance Trust Fund (OASI) fund that supplies money for Social Security payments is projected to start falling short beginning in 2033. One leading solution cited by experts and backed by the Biden administration is to raise the limit for the payroll tax that finances Social Security, while a number of Republican lawmakers and some Republican presidential contenders say the solution is to raise the age of eligibility for receiving Social Security benefits or reduce future benefits for workers in their 20s.
How Much People Think They Need to Retire
The survey also found that to enjoy a comfortable retirement, non-retired survey participants said they’d need to receive $4,940, on average. Millennials who are still working projected that they’d need $5,135 per month while workers getting closer to their full retirement age, between the ages of 60 and 65, said they’d need $4,855 per month to be comfortable. That compares to current retirees who said their total monthly income averages $4,710, including Social Security. However, 37% reported that their total monthly income totaled less than $2,500.
People who’d engaged in more active preparations for retirement reported higher average retirement incomes. Overall, the study found, the average monthly income for retirees with a financial advisor, including Social Security, was $5,075. And for retirees with a formal financial plan, their monthly income averaged $5,810, almost twice the $3,000 per month of income reported by those going into retirement without a financial plan.
Projecting the amount of income you’ll need in retirement includes factoring in your current living expenses, debt levels, where you’ll live, whether you’ll downsize your living arrangements and other elements of your desired lifestyle in retirement. To be comfortable, most people will need their own savings and investments as well as their Social Security benefits.
Tips on Social Security
- Consider talking to a financial advisor about how to make the most of Social Security in your retirement plan. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have free introductory calls with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Check out our no-cost Social Security calculator to get a quick estimate of what you will get when you retire.
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