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Author: ptheland Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 75377  
Subject: Re: What age to take SS payments? Date: 12/2/2013 7:41 PM
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Those two groups probably total 99% of the people eligible for SS.

I suspect you're off by a factor of 10. I'd put it closer to 10% of the population has such an easy decision. There are an awful lot of people who won't starve if they wait to collect Social Security. Instead, they'll keep working.

The risk for that group is to take SS early and treat it like lottery winnings. They keep working and all the SS benefit goes to finally getting the lifestyle they always thought they should have.

Then a few years later, their health intervenes or a layoff comes or something else happens that forces them to stop working. Then reality hits. Had they waited to collect, they might have had enough in SS to scrape by with the higher benefits. But since they started early, they've got a smaller benefit and don't quite have enough. And it's doubly hard because they had been collecting AND working and allowed their lifestyle to increase rather than saving their benefits for later.

Is this their own fault? Well, yes. But this talk of taking benefits at 62 or 70 being mathematically the same misses the real issue. People are different, with different skills and weaknesses and situations. While the choice might be the same when you look at a spreadsheet, when you look at the PERSON, one or the other will likely be the better choice for that person.

So IMHO, the whole debate is silly. The proper goal is to retire with $1M-$2M so that you don't have to depend on SS.

It's not silly at all. Here in the real world, people miss goals. They get off to a bad start and lose too much time to make it all up later. Or they start well, then life throws them a curveball and makes some goals impossible.

--Peter
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