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Author: Goofyhoofy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 77227  
Subject: Re: What age to take SS payments? Date: 12/9/2013 7:52 PM
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OK, a few things from this thread:

I can't believe you didn't see Book of Mormon. Also, was Spiderman any good?

Saw BoM last year. Hated it. Despised it. Not funny. Puerile. Sophomoric. We're in the minority, obviously. http://boards.fool.com/my-recommendation-is-see-book-of-morm... Spiderman had astounding staging, which didn't make up for the lousy book, music, or acting. But truly inventive and impressive scenery, set design, and, of course, the flying. (Last year: Book of Mormon, Once, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Heiress, Newsies. Best: Once. Close call with Newsies, for the book and wonderful staging.)

We don't buy our tickets until we get there; had trouble with Saturday night and that's where Spiderman filled in. We generally get seats in the first 10 rows (or two front rows of the mezz) going Box Office to Box Office. We are rarely disappointed, though we didn't get in to see After Midnight. Cinderella, Beautiful, Snow Geese, Pippin, Peter & the Starcatcher, and The Winslow Boy were all fall backs, and we wish we'd seen any one of them than Spidey. But the staging almost made up for it.

Now the unimportant stuff:

If you're wealthy enough to delay taking SS until age 70, what's the "utility of money"?

I am/we are "wealthy" enough to delay taking it, but we liked having some cash flow coming into the house to offset our not lavish but also not penurious lifestyle. So we opted to take the benefits early knowing that they would be reduced over time, but that the "extra" money would have less marginal utility at the end of the life than for the next decade or two.

I don't think I'd want to depend on $22K for living expenses, even at age 85.

Good point, but we won't either. We have rental income and, of course, dividend and interest income. As someone else pointed out, the extra $5-10,000 won't change our lifestyle when we are 87, but does make a psychological different now at age 66. If you are going to live solely on SS, then my take is obviously irrelevant (which I thought I covered by saying that you should have elder-care contingencies in place first.)

8% return

Yes, it's an 8% "improvement." Which pays off when you are 83 and beyond. The thrust of my comment was that I think the "utility" of money is higher now, and will be lower later.

But I do not mean to hijack the thread, I just note that after some discussion of "utility" it has drifted back to "quantity," as seems to the be focus in so much of our society anymore. Quantity doesn't matter if you can't use it. Or, in my philosophy, use it well, at the very least.

Back in the 1930s when Social Security only a small minority of folks lived long enough to collect.

Last, I have to correct this old canard AGAIN. The majority of people in the 1930's and 1940's and beyond did, indeed, use it. The confusion comes because people look at "life expectancies" in the 1930's and see that most people lived to about age 63 - but that is because so many children died early, which skewed the numbers horribly. The more relevant statistic is how many people still alive at 20 (where they began contributing) lived to age 65 and beyond and could collect? The answer: most of them.

So we can observe that for men, for example, almost 54% of the them could expect to live to age 65 if they survived to age 21, and men who attained age 65 could expect to collect Social Security benefits for almost 13 years (and the numbers are even higher for women).
http://www.ssa.gov/history/lifeexpect.html

The numbers are higher now, but not vastly so. 2/3 of the increase in "life expectancy" is due to a reduction in child mortality, only 1/3 because of "safer workplaces" and "end of life care" and "surgical interventions" and so on. (And if you eliminate those who die between age 21 and 64 the number shrink even further: car accidents, drug overdoses, etc.)
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