Concerns about having enough in retirement savings is the main factor driving pre-retirees to plan for claiming Social Security benefits, according to a new report.
Securian Financial Group, St. Paul, Minn., published this finding in a February 2013 online study of 804 consumers ages 50-65 to learn the extent of Social Security’s role in baby boomers’ retirement income planning.
More than 4 in 10 of the survey respondents (44.2 percent) say that concerns as to whether retirement savings will provide enough income has prompted them to begin planning for claiming Social Security benefits. Those polled also cited the following as reasons to begin planning:
The need to decide on a retirement age (42.2 percent)
Their health (30.6 percent)
Assessing cash flow needs in retirement (29.9 percent)
Uncertainty about the future of Social Security (29.9 percent)
Advice from already retired friends or family (17.7 percent).
Health of spouse (10.9 percent)
Advice from financial advisor/professional (10.2 percent)
The survey finds that nearly half of “planners”—respondents who have developed or are developing strategies for maximizing Social Security—created or started to create their plans between the ages of 60 and 65. The ages of 62, 50 and 55 stand out as benchmarks for claiming: 20 percent, 10 percent and 10 percent of respondents, respectively, starting at those ages.
The study observes, however, that planners only make up 18 percent (147) of the retirees surveyed. Roughly 4 in 10 (44 percent) have not started to explore options or are only beginning to explore options (37.7 percent).
When asked what changes planners made to their Social Security strategies, nearly six in 10 (58.9 percent) said they changed their retirement age. And nearly half (48 percent) said they changed the age they’ll start claiming Social Security benefits.
An additional 40 percent indicated their changes involved their spouse’s retirement age.