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Old 07-08-2015, 10:26 AM   #221
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First off, haha's post ahead of was an excellent summary...

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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
....

It is not like when to take SS is a major financial success factor in books like The Millionaire Next Door, compared to other factors like picking the right vocation or LBYMs. ...

But I don't think that means much. As we can see from this and other threads, it is a rather complex decision, personal situations have a very profound affect - whether there is a spouse, age differences of spouses, whether the spouse has restrictions on survivor benefits, SS benefits differences for each spouse, special LE considerations, taxes. And the rules may change. IMO, they probably skipped it as it is far too complex for easy reading. And on average, it probably doesn't make a lot of difference, so it just can't be generalized in a book targeted to be 'easy to read'.

A friend of mine started asking me about this, he is thinking of taking it at 62 (he doesn't 'need' it). With his spreadsheet, he assumes some great market returns, so sure, taking it early likely 'works' in that case.

It was hard to get him to make other assumptions, and he still had not worked out what his wife's SS would be, and so on. I told him what to look for, and we agreed that since we don't know our date of demise, there is really no 'right' answer. The way I left it with him was that either way, unless there is some special circumstance, he can't go far wrong with either taking at 62 or 70. You place your bet, you take your chances.



Quote:
I find it odd that taking SS at 62 seems to draw a lot of negative comments here and posts implying financial imprudence,
Is that really the case? I think there is one poster saying that to delay is a 'no-brainer' (I don't agree), and I think for the most part people are saying it isn't that straight forward for either decision, and are trying to clarify the decision points.

Where is all this negativism towards drawing at 62 (not negativism at ignoring information, or making broad-brush assumptions)? Did I miss it?


Quote:
If Household A takes SS at 62 and the retirement calculators show having a net worth of $5M at age 100 and household B takes SS at 70 and goes for 90% success in Firecalc (using historical returns that may be higher than what the financial pundits are predicting for the future) resulting in a $0 portfolio balance at 90, which household is being more cautious? Which one has more longevity insurance?
What point are you trying to make? I can't follow the connection between two such divergent scenarios, which are apparently an after-the-fact, rear-view-mirror analysis?

Who knows what we end up with? This seems to be like framing a question about whether Joe should buy a lottery ticket, and then explaining that he would have got the jackpot winner if he bought it? How does having one person end up at $5M at age 100, and the other at $0 at age 90 have anything to do with taking SS at 62/70? You lost me.

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Old 07-08-2015, 10:36 AM   #222
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
The "is the market rising or falling" trigger is probably less useful than a trigger based on "is the market overvalued or undervalued by historic measures." The recent thread on PE10s utility in setting AA may be of interest, and the latency of that metric (it can be "wrong" for years) is not a bad fit for the SS claiming decision/duration.
Good! That's the kind of feedback ad discussion I was looking for.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:59 AM   #223
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I think your wording is not precise enough. In my view, the objective of the exercise is to optimize the expected utility of the SS benefits within the context of one's situation (assets/income and liabilities). That's not the same as just maximizing the expected average number of dollars. We keep going down the oversimplified rabbit hole of "BE analysis", which totally misses the hard-to-quantify but very real value of an increased inflation-adjusted monthly check that lasts as long as a person lives. How much extra portfolio size is required to make up for the forfeited $900 per month for maybe 30 years? Let's throw in that we might be at a point of high stock valuations (like today) and/or low bond yields (like we are today).
There are a lot of answers to the question, and everybody has a unique situation. Maybe that extra $900/mo (forever) has very low expected utility for some people, and has high expected utility for other people --based on their expected/worst-case situations.
If each person was just the average of the expected mortality of 10,000 people, the BE analysis would be more useful. But each of us is a potential "fat tail", with all that comes with that.
I mostly agree with you and put little weight on any BE analysis. I tend to look at delaying as paying a premium (forgone cash inflow) in exchange for a joint life COLAed payout annuity at age 70 (increase in benefits).

So simplistically, if your age 62 benefits are 75% of your PIA then the forgone benefits are 7,200% of your monthly PIA with no interest (8 years * 12/months a year * 75%). Add in a provision for interest forgone and you're talking roughly 8,500% (at ~4%). In exchange for that "premium" of forgoing those benefits you get a joint lifetime COLAed annuity that pays 32% more per month (384% for 12 months). That's a 4.5% payout rate for a COLAed joint life annuity... pretty good in my opinion compared to a 5.4% or so payout on a joint life fixed annuity for a 62 year old couple.
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Old 07-08-2015, 12:06 PM   #224
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When I run FIRECalc for 30 years with SS at 62 or 70, I see little difference in the spending level for 100% success. I am leaning towards my wife drawing at 62 and myself at 70, but that could change depending on the economic condition between now and when I turn 70...
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You expected that, didn't you? A run like that in FIRECalc is basically going to be a break-even analysis. If you ran it for a longer period, as a 'what-if' to model the 'longevity insurance' benefits (which like most insurance, we never know if we will need it or not), I think you'll see an advantage to the delay. Maybe even more so if you model the more typical case of the larger SS spouse dying first, and the lower SS spouse loses their benefit and gets only the higher SS benefit. If the larger SS spouse took it at 62, it would be closer to the lower SS amount, and the surviving spouse would have significantly less to live on...
That's a good point: to make a longer run to amplify the effect.

So, I make another set of runs, with the period set to 40 years. That should put us to near 100-year old, way too optimistic. The other inputs are: portfolio of 50% Total Market + 50% 5-Yr Treasury.

At 30 years: Both SS @ 70 increases the spending level to 1.7% higher than both SS @ 62.

At 40 years: Both SS @ 70 increases the spending level 3.5% over both SS @ 62.

Note that at 40 years, the spending levels are reduced about 4% relative to the 30-year runs. The effect of SS @ 70 is a bit more pronounced for the 40 year runs compared to 30 years, as one would expect.

Then, I made a set of runs with SS @ 62 for my wife and at 70 for myself. Of course, these runs fit in between the above set.

But, but, but what if I croak, and my wife loses her SS. I simulated that by subtracting out her SS when I reach 78. The results are that the split SS @62,70 is indeed the best, followed by both drawing SS @ 70, and the least being both drawing SS @ 62. However, the difference between the best and worst cases is only 3.7%.

Conclusion: The difference is not that big a deal, according to FIRECalc. What you do to make yourself feel comfortable is more important.

PS. The range of all outcomes is more compressed than one would expect. Between all variations of SS claiming strategies, and whether both will live to 100 or I croak early, the difference in spending levels between the highest and lowest cases is 11%. And I currently spend way below the lowest case.
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Old 07-08-2015, 01:02 PM   #225
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....
Conclusion: The difference is not that big a deal, according to FIRECalc. What you do to make yourself feel comfortable is more important.

PS. The range of all outcomes is more compressed than one would expect. Between all variations of SS claiming strategies, and whether both will live to 100 or I croak early, the difference in spending levels between the highest and lowest cases is 11%. And I currently spend way below the lowest case.
Thanks for all that data! Yes, it does seem pretty compressed considering the extremes. I wouldn't expect much difference using near-average LE, but thought the extremes might show more difference.

I'll guess that the compression is because these runs are sensitive to the failures, and that is generally a market declining (in buying power) right after retiring. And that is the scenario that favors taking SS early (as some of the forum members here did in the last down-turn).

I'm not saying that to try to play up one approach over the other. I think it just points out the idea that circumstances matter, and they can change, so keep evaluating each year if you have the choice.

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Old 07-08-2015, 01:51 PM   #226
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Is that really the case? I think there is one poster saying that to delay is a 'no-brainer' (I don't agree), and I think for the most part people are saying it isn't that straight forward for either decision, and are trying to clarify the decision points.
Check out the earlier pages of this thread alone for starters.
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Old 07-08-2015, 02:38 PM   #227
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort;
I find it odd that taking SS at 62 seems to draw a lot of negative comments here and posts implying financial imprudence,
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Is that really the case? I think there is one poster saying that to delay is a 'no-brainer' (I don't agree), and I think for the most part people are saying it isn't that straight forward for either decision, and are trying to clarify the decision points.

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Check out the earlier pages of this thread alone for starters.


I went through the first 50, and the only posts I saw that I might describe as negative were from the one poster that used the 'no-brainer' comment, and I already mentioned that one.

'A lot of negative comments'? I still don't see it. Perhaps you are being overly-sensitive in reacting to posts that express a view somewhat different from yours? I dunno, I can't really explain it w/o maybe a link to the specific posts you take issue with. But I've already spent enough time re-reading this thread.

Which, by the way is a very valuable thread, IMO. I was leaning to delay to 70 based on previous threads, but this helped me understand everything better, and I feel I'm better armed with the info I need to re-evaluate the decision each year from 62 to 70. A lot of good information here.

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Old 07-08-2015, 03:09 PM   #228
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There is a lot of great information hear. Keep it coming. This seems to be the most popular subject on this site. When to claim SS

Seems like the best response is that we all should look at this monthly as we approach age '62' and go from there. I don't see how anyone can make a blunt statement being around 60 Years old or less and state they will wait till 70. Many changing life events will happen to all of us over the next 8+ years that can alter our plans. Best to all and good health and fortune.


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Old 07-08-2015, 03:10 PM   #229
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... I'll guess that the compression is because these runs are sensitive to the failures, and that is generally a market declining (in buying power) right after retiring. And that is the scenario that favors taking SS early (as some of the forum members here did in the last down-turn)...
This raised another question.

Between both SS @ 62 vs. both SS @ 70, I saw that delaying both SS would allow me to spend 3.5% more than early SS, if both of us live to 100. This 3.5% is not as high as I thought, but how about the average portfolio value in each case?

So, I look at the two cases above again by using their respective 100% success spending levels.

In both cases, using their individual spending levels, the minimum portfolio value is 0, by definition. Their average values differ by a mere 2%, with the delayed SS being better. By average, FIRECalc means the average of the 105 possible 40-yr periods of the past.

What about the best cases for each SS stragegy? In both strategies, with the most favorable market returns in the past, I would be securely in the decamillionaire rank when I get to be a centenarian (in today's dollars no less), and the two SS strategies differ by only 5%. And this case, the early SS would make me slightly richer!
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:10 PM   #230
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'A lot of negative comments'? I still don't see it. Perhaps you are being overly-sensitive in reacting to posts that express a view somewhat different from yours? I dunno, I can't really explain it w/o maybe a link to the specific posts you take issue with. But I've already spent enough time re-reading this thread.
-ERD50
My view early on in this thread was "I think that is why there is no single correct answer to the SS question for every household. We all have different priorities and goals to maximize. "

In this thread and others I have noticed terms like waiting is a "no brainer", "collect SS at 62 so they can get screwed", "No need for any stupid 'break even analysis'", "a lot of folks cannot resist the 'early money' ", taking SS at 62 is a non-optimum decision by people who can't afford to be efficient, no quantitative case for taking SS at 62, where else can you buy an annuity for 8% (one sided claims because it does not consider the downside - the income lost if one dies prior to the crossover point), etc.
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:26 PM   #231
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My view early on in this thread was "I think that is why there is no single correct answer to the SS question for every household. We all have different priorities and goals to maximize. "

In this thread and others I have noticed terms like waiting is a "no brainer", "collect SS at 62 so they can get screwed", "No need for any stupid 'break even analysis'", "a lot of folks cannot resist the 'early money' ", taking SS at 62 is a non-optimum decision by people who can't afford to be efficient, no quantitative case for taking SS at 62, where else can you buy an annuity for 8% (one sided claims because it does not consider the downside - the income lost if one dies prior to the crossover point), etc.
Well, it's not just this thread. If you spend any time reading most Financial Experts opinion, you will see the same thing. The overriding reason that most people take S.S. at age 62 is that they simply need the money. And if you need the money, no one is going to criticize you.

The 'smart move' according to the overwhelming majority of financial experts is to delay to age 70.
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:55 PM   #232
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My view early on in this thread was "I think that is why there is no single correct answer to the SS question for every household. We all have different priorities and goals to maximize. "

In this thread and others I have noticed terms like waiting is a "no brainer", "collect SS at 62 so they can get screwed", "No need for any stupid 'break even analysis'", "a lot of folks cannot resist the 'early money' ", taking SS at 62 is a non-optimum decision by people who can't afford to be efficient, no quantitative case for taking SS at 62, where else can you buy an annuity for 8% (one sided claims because it does not consider the downside - the income lost if one dies prior to the crossover point), etc.
Well, I'm investing way too much effort in this, but...

Since you put "screwed" in quotes, I searched the thread and only you used the term.

The 'stupid break even' analysis was by the same poster who made the 'no-brainer' comment, so just a bit more of the same. However, I pretty much agree that a break even analysis isn't what is important to most people - we are looking at it as insurance, it's just different. Using the word 'stupid' might be a little harsh, but he's just trying to make a point, nothing worth getting worked up about, IMO. And again, it is case dependent - if you know you and spouse can expect an unusually short LE, then a break even analysis probably makes sense. Most of just don't have that info.

'taking SS at 62 is a non-optimum decision by people who can't afford to be efficient' - That's not the quote, and I think you are putting that out of context as well.

'where else can you buy an annuity for 8%' (one sided claims because it does not consider the downside - the income lost if one dies prior to the crossover point), it's not one-sided, you have to buy it - that's the downside, right there in black and white. And it is a very astute question, worthy of serious consideration, IMO.

"a lot of folks cannot resist the 'early money' " Isn't that true?

Go ahead and point out the flaws in anyone's comments on delaying, that's how we learn. But I think you are off-base to simply paint them as 'negative'. From what I've seen, those looking to delay seem to fully understand the downsides, and feel the longevity insurance is worth it. I don't see dogmatic responses from them (with the possible exception of the one I have mentioned. One.).

Some of the discussions supporting taking it early do appear to be twisted though (we showed you can take that cruise and delay SS, and do just fine). But that doesn't make it wrong, or a bad idea for that person. But they ought to understand whether their thoughts are straight or not. At least that's what I'm trying to gather to help me make that decision.

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Old 07-08-2015, 06:55 PM   #233
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I see it both ways. Not long ago at all, I saw a thread where someone said as part of their plan they were taking their SS at 70. One reply said "as you are single, I see no point in deferring SS until 70. Why not 62?" No explanation or support for taking it at 62, just that they should be doing it. The OP was even talking about doing Roth conversions to 70, and taking SS early inhibits that. This isn't the only thread where I've seen taking 62 stated with no rationale, just one I happened to remember and knew how to find. There was another thread I recall where someone told another poster not to be greedy about holding out for the larger deferred amount.


I think you just aren't tuned into both sides. It's like how most every college football fan thinks ESPN is biased against their team, because they pay close attention to any criticism of their team, but not others.
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:11 PM   #234
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Actually I did use 'no brainer' in post 69.... but it was in reference to someone who was 17.5 years younger than her future husband...


I would like someone on the take it at 62 to show how that is a no brainer...


I did not look to see if it was used by anybody else for any reason...


Just sayin since there is a discussion on if post are negative....
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:39 PM   #235
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Well, I'm investing way too much effort in this, but...

Since you put "screwed" in quotes, I searched the thread and only you used the term.
I posted this thread and others. The screwed comments were in the "others":

You should take SS at 62
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:46 PM   #236
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I posted this thread and others. The screwed comments were in the "others":

You should take SS at 62

Long thread, was this the quote?

You should take SS at 62

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Finally and I think this is important but often overlooked. The elderly are victims of financial scams. If some con man, financial adviser, insurance salesman, or Annie Nicole Smith screws me out my life savings at age 85 (clearly I hope for the Anne Nicole Smith in this situation)
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:47 PM   #237
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Well, it's not just this thread. If you spend any time reading most Financial Experts opinion, you will see the same thing. The overriding reason that most people take S.S. at age 62 is that they simply need the money. And if you need the money, no one is going to criticize you.

The 'smart move' according to the overwhelming majority of financial experts is to delay to age 70.
That is my point. The "smart move" articles often do not consider a complete analysis with breakeven points, taxes, potential program SS or tax changes, individual mortality factors, income diversification, income smoothing, potential means testing, etc. I think some of the FA articles are biased in favor of keeping people working until 70 due to vested interests on the parts of the authors or their publication owners.

I am sure there are many households where 70 is the optimal claiming age. I just wouldn't base that decision on ubiquitous advertorial advice or put down others who, after a careful analysis of their own household finances, come to a different conclusion. There are many smart people here have valid reasons for their own claiming age choices.
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:50 PM   #238
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Long thread, was this the quote?

You should take SS at 62



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The quote was exactly what I put in my post. It is at post #377 in the link.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:44 PM   #239
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Ah, I just thought of another twist as I was reminded by some posters that an advantage of drawing SS early is that you have more money to spend early in retirement. I tend to agree with that, as I have seen with my own eyes that as a geezer/geezerette ages, he/she tends to care less about travel, fancy cars, exotic restaurants, hence spends less.

So, I returned to FIRECalc and reran my own situation but with Bernicke's spending model selected. And here's the results with both of us drawing SS @ 62 or both at 70, and dropping dead at 100.

What'd ya know? The SS @ 70 still wins, but by an "astounding" 0.5% increase in spending level! Due to the Bernicke's model, either one would result in an increase of 50% of initial spending over the flat spending model, and that's more impressive.

So, do it at 62, or do it at 70. It does not seem to make a lot of difference.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:07 PM   #240
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The quote was exactly what I put in my post. It is at post #377 in the link.
OK, but your link didn't take me to post #377, just to the start of the thread. I've found you can right-click the post # (says 'permalink' when I hover over it), and copy/paste that link to get to a specific post.

Isn't #377 posts in to the thread going a long way to try to make your point that there are 'lots of' negative posts?

I'm not even sure that comment was made seriously (you left the smiley-face out of your quote). Honestly, have you considered you might be just a wee bit sensitive on this, and reading negativity into some of these posts?

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