When Is It Best to Claim Social Security?

Online “Claiming Strategy” Tools to Help Your Employees

There are various factors your employees are taking into consideration when deciding when the best time is for their retirement.  One of these factors is the value of their accumulated vested assets in the company’s plan.  Another crucial factor is social security.  The concern for each individual is that the best social security benefit “claiming strategy” for them isn’t always easy to recognize.  The online social security benefit calculators could prove beneficial to users.

The fundamental task for most people is to try to accurately weigh the pros and cons of retiring and claiming benefits at the earliest possible age (62), “normal” retirement age (which varies depending on the year they were born), age 70 (at which point deferring claiming benefits doesn’t affect the amount), or some other stage in between.

In 2015, approximately 40% of men and 47% of women claimed benefits at age 62 per the Social Security Administration (“SSA”).  These percentages have dropped from 56% and 60%, respectively, throughout the past decade.  Additionally, in 2015, 21% of men and 15% of women worked up until their full retirement age of 66.

Recently, the SSA published a study which compared six free online calculators whose emphasis was exclusively or primarily on social security benefits.  Of the six calculators, one was generated by the SSA itself, and the others were designed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Center for Retirement Research, AARP, Financial Engines, and Bankrate. Numerous other calculators are available online for you to utilize.

The SSA study, A Comparison of Free Online Tools for Individuals Deciding When to Claim Social Security Benefits, didn’t rate the six separate calculators.  What the study focused on was detailing how each one worked and their advantages and shortcomings, as the study determined that there’s no single available free tool that meets every need.  However, these tools can be utilized as valuable references for employees looking for direction and assistance on when to claim social security benefits.

Directing your employees to take a look at the SSA study and assess the different online tools might be helpful when considering the timing of their retirement.  Distributing this information as part of your overall employee retirement benefits education could be beneficial to your employees in the long run.  The study can be found on the SSA’s website at https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/rsnotes/rsn2016-03.html.

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