Retirees 'ill-informed' about Social Security

Washington, DC - A new study shows that Americans nearing retirement age are ill-informed about their Social Security options, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens. 

Weber said that AMAC's establishment of a dedicated Social Security Web site, www.socialsecurityreport.org, was designed to provide a comprehensive source of answers to top-of-mind retirement issues.

The study Weber cited was conducted by the retirement consulting firm, Financial Engines, and it showed confusion over the optimal age to begin collecting benefits is widespread.  It also revealed that, as a result, many retirees apply at too early an age resulting in significant long-term losses.

"Many retirees and near-retirees are simply unaware of their Social Security claiming options. And this lack of knowledge means they could be leaving significant money on the table -- to the tune of as much as $100,000 or more for individuals and $250,000 or more for married couples," the consulting firm noted in a news release issued this week.

Weber pointed out that "there's a tendency to opt for early retirement and begin collecting benefits at age 62.  But the experts will tell you that the longer you wait, the more you'll get in monthly payments-25% more at age 66 and 76% more at age 70."

The AMAC chief noted that medical breakthroughs and better living standards have been increasing the longevity of Americans consistently over the last several decades.  The Social Security Administration figures that a 65 year old today will live, on average, until his or her mid-80's, he said, "making it well worth the waiting for most individuals."  But, he added, selecting the right age at which to retire is an important decision that should be made on an individual basis.  "There is no one-size-fits-all option."

Weber said that the study points out that most people are uninformed about how Social Security works.  "More important, it shows that all of us need to get involved in ensuring the preservation of Social Security for we older Americans and for our children and grandchildren.  Our socialsecurityreport.org Web site presents AMAC's views on what can and what must be done to fix the problems evident in Social Security as it stands today. It also provides links to analyses of alternate proposals aimed at maintaining Social Security solvency."

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