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Sure, you can start your Social Security benefits at age 62. But is it better to claim early or delay benefits until a later date?
While a one-size-fits-all answer doesn’t work for everybody, a new study suggests that ill-timed Social Security strategies are costing Americans dearly.
United Income found that retirees might lose $3.4 trillion in potential income due to timing of when they enroll for their benefits. The research was a joint effort between the fintech company and former top policy officials from the Social Security Administration.
What about the income effect on retirees at a personal level? On average, each retired household would miss out on $111,000 of lifetime benefits. And for current retirees, premature decisions could add up to collective losses of roughly $2.7 trillion.
That would average out to roughly $67,000 in lost income per household.
“Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber, and as deadly as a hit man,” Ronald Reagan once famously said.
And the worst time to try to fight this formidable foe is when you are in retirement, living on a fixed income. Many people have some employment, or some involvement with entrepreneurship, for a stream of retirement income.
But chances are they don't offer wage increases, or other inflation-countering benefits that you might have had in your working years, to help you keep pace.
Annuities are one of the few ways to obtain retirement income that is paid out as long as you live, making them a popular component of many retirement plans.
But if the annuity payout is fixed at the outset of the contract, by design it can’t be increased to keep pace with inflation. Should inflation rise 10% over time, for example, the buying power of a $3,300 monthly annuity payout erodes to $2,970.
This threat has the potential to affect a retiree’s lifestyle and could even require making unwelcome cuts in spending.
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