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Wait Till 70 for Social Security? No Way, Say Most Americans: Survey

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What You Need to Know

  • Schroders surveyed pre- and post-retirees 45 and older and found that only 10% planned to wait until 70 to claim benefits.
  • Three in four respondents said they were concerned about how to find additional income or draw down assets in retirement.
  • Advisors should educate themselves and their clients on Social Security benefits in addition to individual portfolios.

Getting the largest possible Social Security check doesn’t appear to be incentive enough for 90% of non-retirees 45 and older to wait until age 70 to claim them, according to a new study from Schroders Investment Management. Indeed, 30% plan to begin taking benefits between age 62 and 65, before full retirement age. Fourteen percent plan on taking benefits between 66 and 69, while nearly half 46% aren’t sure when they will claim.

Even those who are at or near retirement age — ages 60 to 67 — don’t seem interested in waiting until age 70: Only 13% said they plan to wait to age 70 to claim Social Security benefits while 28% are still unsure.

Only 5% say they waited until age 70 to claim the benefits.

“Social Security is the primary source of income for the majority of Americans we surveyed, which is why we were surprised to see so many deciding not to wait until 70 for larger monthly payments; or worse, sacrificing their full benefits by tapping them early,” said Schroders’ Joel Schiffman, head of intermediary distribution, North America, in a statement. “It might come down to being able to afford to wait.”

The Schroders U.S. Retirement survey was conducted by 8 Acre Perspective among 1,000 U.S. consumers ages 45-75 from Jan. 20-27. Accordingly, the age groups and gender of those surveyed were evenly split; 230 of the working respondents had defined contribution plans.

The study also had some findings that should help advisors understand retirement hurdles that they will have when dealing with clients.

For 52% of non-retired Americans and 58% of those retired, Social Security will be the primary source of income in retirement. However, 64% of those not retired and 62% of those retired say the benefits won’t be enough to live on.

Although 74% stated concerns about how to generate income or draw down their assets in retirement, many have addition sources of income including:

  • Cash savings: 58%
  • Investment income: 48%
  • Pension plan: 40%
  • Annuities: 19%
  • Rental income: 12%

Fifty percent of retirees say they don’t have any strategies to generate income, instead saying “I just take money when I need it.” However, income-producing strategies included:

  • Systematic withdrawals from a defined contribution plan or IRA: 28%
  • Dividend-producing stocks or mutual funds: 19%
  • Annuities: 13%
  • CDs: 11%
  • Individual bonds or bond mutual funds: 9%
  • Managed payout funds: 9%

Seven in 10 of non-retired respondents stated they wished they were more knowledgeable about Social Security. However, the study notes that most — 74% of non-retired respondents and 84% of non-retirees between 60 and 67 — understood they would get more in Social Security if they waited until age 70. Advisors would do well to be educated on, and educate their clients on, Social Security benefits in addition to individual portfolios.


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