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Pre-Retirees Shouldn’t Panic About Their Social Security Benefits


The report, conducted by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, highlights the projection made by the Social Security and Medicare Trustees. It states that the retirement trust fund will reach insolvency in 2033, a year earlier than previously anticipated.

Making Informed Decisions About Social Security Benefits

When it comes to Social Security benefits, timing is crucial. Instead of letting the impending shortfall dictate when to claim, individuals nearing retirement should carefully consider their life expectancy. According to Mastrogiovanni, those in poor health may actually receive more over their lifetime by claiming earlier. On the other hand, those in average to good health might want to delay claiming, if possible, in order to receive a higher lifetime benefit. Of course, individuals with limited retirement savings may not have the luxury of choice and may need to claim early regardless of their health.

For individuals born in 1960 or later, claiming benefits at age 62 would result in a 30% reduction. However, if they wait until age 70 to claim, they would qualify for 124% of the benefit they would receive at the full retirement age of 67. So, delaying claiming can lead to a significantly higher lifetime benefit.

While the uncertainty surrounding Social Security’s future can be unsettling, it’s important not to make emotional decisions based on fear. Martha Shedden, co-founder and president of the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts, emphasizes the importance of staying calm and making informed choices. Shedden doubts that benefit cuts will ultimately be implemented. However, even if they were, she points out that a 23% cut to a larger check would still leave more money in one’s pocket compared to a 23% cut to a smaller check.

It’s worth noting that the burden of future benefit reductions will likely fall on younger individuals. Mastrogiovanni suggests that millennials should prepare for a potential 20% reduction in benefits. For instance, a 35-year-old earning $100,000 would need to increase their annual savings by $2,543 until reaching full retirement age, in order to compensate for the income “lost” due to a reduction in Social Security benefits. These projections align with a report from HealthView Services released last year.

In conclusion, it is crucial for individuals approaching retirement to carefully consider their options and weigh the potential long-term impact of claiming Social Security benefits early or delaying them. By making informed decisions and staying calm amidst the uncertainty, individuals can maximize their lifetime benefits and secure a more comfortable retirement.

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