More Americans Making This Wise Social Security Choice

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A report paints a bleak picture of Americans' financial health, especially for anyone in or hoping to reach old age. But there is one bright spot.

A report out of Stanford University paints a bleak picture of Americans’ financial health, especially for anyone in or hoping to reach old age.

Millennials’ average debt is five times higher than it was for people in their age group (25 to 34) 15 years ago, for example, and fewer Americans are opening requirement accounts before age 55.

“Financial security is less likely for Americans in 2014 compared to 2000,” as the Stanford Center on Longevity report sums it up.

Titled “Seeing Our Way to Living Long, Living Well in 21st Century America,” the report is part of the center’s Sightlines Project.

The project investigates how well Americans are doing in three areas the report considers to be critical to well-being as you age:

  • Financial security
  • Healthy living
  • Social engagement

Findings are based on analyses of eight multiyear studies involving more than 1.2 million Americans over two decades.

Among the bleak financial facts, however, one finding stands out for the better: More Americans are delaying their Social Security benefits.

For example, in 2000, 20 percent of 65-year-olds had not filed for Social Security benefits. In 2012, 35 percent had not filed.

Delaying filing for your Social Security benefits can be a wise financial decision because it generally means you will end up receiving more money over time.

As the report explains:

Taking Social Security at 62 results in a reduction of as much as 30 percent in one’s annual benefits — for life. Starting after “normal” retirement age, on the other hand (now 66), results in increased benefits, 8 percent per additional year between the ages of 66 and 70.

To learn more, check out “14 Ways to Get Bigger Checks From Social Security.”

To find out how you can obtain a personalized report on the optimal age at which you should start claiming benefits, check out “Maximize Your Social Security.”

What’s your take on the best age at which you should claim Social Security benefits? Share your thoughts below or in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Stacy Johnson

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Read Next: Ask Stacy: 7 Things You Need to Know About Social Security

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