Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Workers Waiting Longer to Claim Social Security

New research says fewer workers are claiming Social Security when they reach age 62...

For decades, data from the Social Security Administration have indicated that a fairly consistent share of workers -- about 60% of women and about 52% of men -- have claimed a Social Security check at 62, the earliest age at which most people qualify for benefits. Of course, collecting Social Security before "full retirement age," which is climbing gradually to age 67, results in a permanent reduction in a person’s monthly payout?

A study published in June, found that: 48% of women and 43% of men who turned 62 in 2006 claimed Social Security benefits as soon as they became available. That's down from 60% of women and 51% of men who turned 62 in 2000.

Indeed, financial advisers increasingly are urging people to push back their "start date" for Social Security. A number of factors argue for postponing, and trying to maximize, that first check -- including the demise of traditional pensions, increased life expectancy, retirement accounts that fall victim to bear markets, and Social Security's own rules (which tend to favor survivors whose spouses claim benefits at a later date).

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