Most US Workers Say They Will File for Social Security Early

Senior Woman Looking Serious in NatureTo secure the maximum amount in monthly Social Security retirement benefits, Americans must wait until full retirement age to start receiving their payouts. Results from a 2023 survey show that most of today’s workers know about this stipulation – and yet the vast majority say they’re willing to file for their Social Security benefits early anyway.

UK-based wealth management company Schroders surveyed 2,000 working Americans to learn more about their readiness for and perspectives on retirement. The results showed that a mere 10 percent of respondents said they plan to hold off until age 70 to take their Social Security benefits. This is the case even though 72 percent of them are aware their payments could be higher if they waited.

Why Are So Many People Willing to Give Up More Income?

Many of the survey participants – roughly 44 percent – said they worry about Social Security running out of funds. Their fears may not be entirely unfounded. The Social Security program has served as a safety net for millions of retirees, providing monthly benefits since 1940. However, based on some projections, timely payments may not be possible beyond 2037.

Another 36 percent of the respondents said they would take benefits earlier because they need the money sooner.

These fears, said Deb Boyden, head of US defined contribution at Schroders, reflect “a crisis of confidence in the Social Security system.”

“Fear about the stability of Social Security has people walking away from money that could improve their quality of life in retirement,” she said.

Other Key Findings

  • Nearly half of all survey respondents (49 percent) acknowledged that they do not have any strategies in place for retirement income.
  • Less than a quarter (24 percent) of those aged 60 to 67 who are still in the workforce said they believe they’ve accumulated sufficient retirement savings.
  • Among respondents aged 45 and older, 69 percent say they fret over money daily – on average, 1.6 hours every day. More than half of this same group (53 percent) said they worry that stress over finances will have a negative impact on their overall health.
  • Retirees who’d worked with a financial planner had higher average monthly incomes than those who had not sought out the help of an advisor ($5,075 per month versus $3,000 per month). Those who had set up a formal financial plan received nearly twice more per month on average in retirement – about $5,810.

Find more information on the survey results online.

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