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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-19-2007, 05:00 PM   #201
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Re: When to take SS

thats how i plan to do it to. i want to enjoy a bigger withdrawl while im younger healthy and motivated to do things and give the kids more. ill wait to 70 to take ss and take the bigger withdrawl starting at 62 with the comfort of refilling my nest egg at the higher rate later on. heck if we die well than its a moot point about breaking even right?
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-19-2007, 05:05 PM   #202
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Re: When to take SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107
thats how i plan to do it to. i want to enjoy a bigger withdrawl while im younger healthy and motivated to do things and give the kids more. ill wait to 70 and take the bigger withdrawl at 62 with the comfort of refilling my nest egg at the higher rate later on. heck if we die well than its a moot point about breaking even right?
Yup!
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-19-2007, 05:22 PM   #203
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Re: When to take SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
The 'Bigger Pile' reference was if you purchased an annuity with half of your stash, to up the withdrawal rate or spent more between 62-70 in anticipation of a larger SS check.
Let's hope that government will deliver (or honor) what's promised.
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-19-2007, 05:31 PM   #204
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Re: When to take SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
Let's hope that government will deliver (or honor) what's promised.
This is the same hope that Military Retirees and T-Bill holders have also!
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-19-2007, 05:49 PM   #205
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Re: When to take SS

Have a look at the inside of a VA hospital lately?

However, t-bill holders have an implicit guarantee and are fully backed. Social security makes no such claim, in fact they're quite clear in telling people that their current plan is insolvent. I also havent seen too many congresscritters proposing legislation to cut t-bill payments.

I've come to the conclusion that you probably are a lot more interested in the validation of being argued with than the actual matter at hand. In truth, I think you'll neither spend away nor buy any annuities. But if you did, it'd pretty much validate my opinion of your financial wisdom.

However, for the peanut gallery, any 'volume' advantages that annuities have are quite readily consumed in the fat fees. After your trip to the VA hospital, have a look at the offices of your average insurance company executive. Note the fine wood paneling, the large expensive desk, the high priced goodies...

Oh yes, and then theres that whole thing about not having any principal at the end. That'd ruin my plans of making off with Anna Nicole Smith's granddaughter when i'm in my 90's.
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-19-2007, 06:13 PM   #206
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Re: When to take SS

It looks like this thread has got back to discussion/analysis rather than attack/defense - that's good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny

The wild cards and other inputs to this equation:

- When are you going to die?
It's been pointed out that life span does not alter the decision. I realized another way to say this in the middle of my FireCalc runs and other calculations and yard projects:

It only matters what maximum life expectancy you *plan* for. That is what drives your SWR, or desire for annuity/SS. Once you have decided, for example, that you desire a good confidence of being solvent at age 100, your boat has sailed. At that point it makes no difference what the average life expectancy is, whether you're being wildly optimistic of your chances to make it to 100 or not - none of it matters. The *only* thing that matters is that you decided, for whatever reasons, that solvency at 100 (or whatever age) is what you picked, and what you will plan against.

If you want to base a plan on a median LE, you have a 50/50 chance of outliving that plan. Now, you could say that based on a FIreCalc rate of 95% and a median LE, you most likely will only run out of money 5% of the time at that age. That's fine if you (and the people you may need to rely on for support) are comfortable with that. I guess I'm feeling better planning for the (admittedly somewhat unlikely case) of living to 100, and still having >95% Firecalc confidence. Hmmm, maybe we need a confidence/continence factor?


Quote:
Originally Posted by CFB
- Will the 'insurer' pay?

I'm not in this to argue. I just think its patently stupid to think you can spend down your money in your 50's, .....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
Let's hope that government will deliver (or honor) what's promised.
This may have a lot to do with the different POVs - I agree, I would not spend down in my 50's based on a future 62/66/70 decision. Too much risk that things could change before then. I wouldn't spend any additional until the decision is made (at 62 if it looks good at the time).

I think there are other threads on this subject, but it seems unlikely that the gov will not keep the promise made to a 62 year old at the time he is 62. Less so for someone 10 years before 62. Tax implications could change, etc, but remember that big strong AARP lobby....

-ERD50
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-19-2007, 11:12 PM   #207
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Re: When to take SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107
with the comfort of refilling my nest egg at the higher rate later on.
Just when I thought that painfully following along with these discussions for days had brought me to a reasonable understanding of the alternatives, you throw this confusing statement into the works.....

In the testing and calculations done so far, the higher SS received by delaying until 66 or 70 was spent. You're saying that the higher SS is used to replinish the portfolio to compensate for the higher 62-66/70 withdrawals?
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 03:27 AM   #208
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Re: When to take SS

yep, you have 2 choices by delaying ss. you will be getting a payment of approx 30% higher plus all the colas on the extra 30% at 70. you can look at that by delaying 8 years the ss payments you are giving up taking are actually buying an annuity in away which is the extra 30% over and above what you would get if taken at 62..

now that you have this annuity going to kick in at 70 your 2 choices at 62 are to either take a larger withdrawl rate for life from your nest egg right from the get go enjoying more money and maybe doing things and taking trips you couldnt do before and all while your young enough to enjoy it because if you live to 70 or your spouse lives to at least 70 the annuity
as we will call it kicks in and refills your nest egg from the extra dough you payed out.


choice 2 is take the same withdrawl rate you would have gotten at 62 and when ss kicks in at 70 if you dont need a larger withdrawl than save the extra. in that case any scenerio i ran for my wife and i left us with the biggest pile as long as one of us made to age 80.

as far as solvency of the system id worry more about the medicare deficits if i wanted to worry about something. like i always say worrying about higher tax brackets, solvency of ss, solvency of medicare , terroist attacks and the hole in the ozone layer can all be concerns but we plan for what long term trends have proven, for what is now, and for what plain makes sence primarly. 80 million voting baby boomers have lots of power to make sure things go our way.

leave a little slack in your plan just in case but i wouldnt build a plan around any of it exclussivly happening
since its like horse race and you get to bet on 2 hourses for first place with one ticket if your married the odds are if you and your spouse made it to 62 at least one of you are going on well into your 80's
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 08:29 AM   #209
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Re: When to take SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50
I think there are other threads on this subject, but it seems unlikely that the gov will not keep the promise made to a 62 year old at the time he is 62. Less so for someone 10 years before 62. Tax implications could change, etc, but remember that big strong AARP lobby....
Its already happened twice, sort of. My dad took his social security at 62, and a few years later the CPI calculation was changed to produce a lower annual number. In a very small sample size report, my dad says he and his neighbors at Sun City feel the benefit has lost about 30% of its buying power in the last 10 years...about exactly the amount the CPI was 'adjusted' to.

Further, the CPI-E was proposed, intention being to create a CPI index that tracked elderly/retiree expenses for possible inclusion into the SSA's payout programs. The CPI-E pointed out that the CPI-U understated actual elderly/retiree cost of living changes. Then it was scuttled, basically stating that while it'd be the right thing to do, the SSA couldnt afford a higher payout.

So on one hand, the benefit was 'reduced'. In the other, it was found to be unfair, but too expensive to 'fix'.

I dont think the SSA will cut benefits in any of our lifetimes, but I could see them reducing or eliminating the annual CPI adjustment. Retirees would scream, but if the choices were "Social security ends in 5 years, sticks around indefinitely at 75% payout, or sticks around indefinitely at full payout but with no inflation adjustment...I think the third option gets the nod.

I'd hate to see someone presume they'll get full age 70 benefits for 30-40 years with inflation adjustments only to get eaten alive 2.5-3% a year.
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 08:48 AM   #210
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Re: When to take SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Its already happened twice, sort of. My dad took his social security at 62, and a few years later the CPI calculation was changed to produce a lower annual number. In a very small sample size report, my dad says he and his neighbors at Sun City feel the benefit has lost about 30% of its buying power in the last 10 years...about exactly the amount the CPI was 'adjusted' to.

Further, the CPI-E was proposed, intention being to create a CPI index that tracked elderly/retiree expenses for possible inclusion into the SSA's payout programs. The CPI-E pointed out that the CPI-U understated actual elderly/retiree cost of living changes. Then it was scuttled, basically stating that while it'd be the right thing to do, the SSA couldnt afford a higher payout.

So on one hand, the benefit was 'reduced'. In the other, it was found to be unfair, but too expensive to 'fix'.

I dont think the SSA will cut benefits in any of our lifetimes, but I could see them reducing or eliminating the annual CPI adjustment. Retirees would scream, but if the choices were "Social security ends in 5 years, sticks around indefinitely at 75% payout, or sticks around indefinitely at full payout but with no inflation adjustment...I think the third option gets the nod.

I'd hate to see someone presume they'll get full age 70 benefits for 30-40 years with inflation adjustments only to get eaten alive 2.5-3% a year.
Bunny,

If you look at diversification... Think of that idea. But apply it to sources of income stream. Also consider the elements of SS that act as part of a safety net.

Some of you income will come from your portfolio. Other sources of income may be pensions. Some may have purchased Immediate Annuities. And SS. The source of income for SS is tax payers. Even though it is means tested... It will be there as a safety net to form part of your floor income base. Even though the COLA would be better if it were a CPI-E, the CPI-U provides an adjustment that helps. To purchase that sort of annuity would be very expensive.

I agree that one cannot pre-determine their age of death... But the probability is if you or your DW make it to a certain age, there is a larger probability that one of you will live to a certain age that is older.

This is one of the reasons I cam considering having DW take hers at 62 and I might take mine at 66.x. Not sure about 70. The tax considerations are the other reason.

I do not believe the government will renege on SS. But someone will have to pay. It is likely to be businesses, wealthy, many of those 70 mm boomers will die early (reducing the burden). I believe that we will immigrate workers. You can see that congress is floating a bill again. It is tantamount to an amnesty bill for illegals. I am not in favor of that. But I am in favor of legal immigration at all levels of the skill/knowledge scale. I think that need to be managed. We will have a shortage of highly skilled knowledge workers as well as low-end labor.

Will SS be transformed in the future to some other form of implementation (e.g., private accounts)? It might be changed... but not for us. It is too late to change the approach for us. I would say they could implement a new plan for people under 30... perhaps younger.


I have a theoretical question for you. If you could withdraw from SS, how much would you require in exchange. If you view it as worthless, would you take $100k today to walk away? That is probably less than what your projections are for age 62. Of course, you would be getting the money 12 years earlier to invest.
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 09:10 AM   #211
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Re: When to take SS

I dont view the benefit as worthless, just too far out for me and too much uncertainty to quantify and plan for. But in response to your question, yep, I'd take 100k today in lieu of the benefit...which is 18 years away for me, not 12.

Again, I dont think SS will be scuttled, but its pretty obvious that with fewer people to pay in and more people drawing out, something has to give. Either benefits will be reduced, inflation adjustment will be changed, or a class of people will be eliminated...perhaps thats what the heavy tax load being implemented is designed to do...make the benefit less beneficial to the rich? Since SS was intended to be a 'helper' and a small bit of a safety net for the indigent elderly, perhaps it will return to that role. Everyone with more than $x in assets or annual income will be excluded?
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 09:29 AM   #212
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Re: When to take SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
I dont view the benefit as worthless, just too far out for me and too much uncertainty to quantify and plan for. But in response to your question, yep, I'd take 100k today in lieu of the benefit...which is 18 years away for me, not 12.
Oops, sorry... 12 years is me.

If you retired in 2000 and you have 18 years to go to 62... $100k might be generous. Your SS is may not be worth that in PV.
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 09:43 AM   #213
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Re: When to take SS

It isnt. Not even if I live forever.
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 05:02 PM   #214
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Re: When to take SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny

But dont just listen to me...
CFB - Thanks to the link to the "grandfather" thread. I can now see an example of test with a lower starting age. I think the three quotes you posted all related to this post:

Quote:
Now for Firecalc data!

I used 60k/yr, 800k portfolio, 50 yrs, withdrawal change of -38400 non inflation adjusted in year 0 (to model a fixed pension), 80% stocks, and defaults for the rest. I then looked for the 95% point max safe withdrawal returned by Firecalc. With SS as below, here are the max withdrawals:

$15,168 in year 12 (1,264/mo at 62): $62,880
$20,112 in year 16 (1,676/mo at 66): $61,680
$26,500 in year 20 (2,212/mo at 70): $60,560

Not quite what I expected! Any insight on this out there? This seems to indicate that the earlier payout at age 62 is the best!

Wayne
I put that data into FireCalc today and got similar, but not identical, results. The three "safe" spending levels were: $62,430 $61,848 and $61,801. These numbers are closer together than those from the post, but there is still a decreasing pattern.
I looked at the Firecalc detail and thought that I could see something that makes sense.

I think it pays to consider three things that people seem to agree on:
1) Low investment returns are bad for your portfolio's chances of outliving you (duh).
2) Although poor returns are always bad, they seem especially bad if they occur early on.
3) Deferring SS gives better results if your investment yields are low.

The cases that have been posted here with a starting age of 62, and a conservative definition of success (e.g. 95% probablity at 30 years), generally show that deferring SS gives the higher safe income. My reasoning about this it that when you specify 95% success, the five or six worst investment cases control FireCalc’s safe spending numbers.

For a starting age of 62, there is an interesting connection between statements (2) and (3). The worst cases have (of course) low investment returns, especially in the early years. But low returns in the 62-72 age range (very approx on the 72) make deferring SS look better. So, although deferring makes the "average" scenario worse, it helps out in exactly those cases that control the FireCalc numbers when you've specified 95%.

i.e. When your analysis starts at age 62, statement (2) and (3) above work together to tell a conservative person it’s best to defer SS.



But what about Wayne's example? or Firecalc runs that you've done for yourself? Why don't they favor deferring?

Because starting the run at age 50 or 44 breaks the connection between (2) and (3). The scenarios that are most likely to get into the 5% failures are the ones that start out with low returns. For Wayne, that would be low returns in his 50's when he’s first taking withdrawals from his fund. But the scenarios that favor deferring SS are the ones with low returns in his late 60’s and early 70’s.

For example, in one of FireCalc’s scenarios, Wayne would have retired in 1954. He would turn 62 in 1966. Investment yields were low for more than ten years after 1966. The FireCalc detail shows that deferring SS was in fact the better choice in the scenario that starts with 1954. The defer option pulls ahead at age 78 or 79 (Wayne was running to age 100). However, 1954 was irrelevant as far as the 95% confidence was concerned. The good returns from 1954 through 1965 years would have grown his portfolio to over $2 million by age 62. He was never close to failing for this starting year.

The five (out of 86) years with the worst results were 1906, 1909, 1911, 1912, and 1937. In all of these cases, poor returns in the first 12 years would have chewed up more than half his initial portfolio. The next 8 years showed “average” returns. Taking SS at 62 usually gave better results. I think 1909 is a critical year -- the one where deferring fails but taking SS at 62 survives. For a 1909 starting date, low returns take the portfolio all the way down to $275k by the end of year 12. However, yields recovered and averaged double digits for the next 8 years. In this case, taking SS at 62 was the better option. That option still had $184k at 100. But deferring SS wasn’t as good. Those options failed at ages 98 and 99.

My conclusion to all the above is that FireCalc gives a good indicator for someone who is currently 62. It says that if you’re most concerned about the possibility of low yields and a long lifespan, you should consider deferring. For someone who is currently 50 or 44, it gives you good information on the “safety level” of your retirement plans, but I don’t think it’s saying much about this question of when to take SS.

Note: The comments on the specific years above all come from three FireCalc runs that I did using Wayne’s assumptions and his three options for SS, but using the same $62,000 input spending level in all cases.
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 05:07 PM   #215
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Re: When to take SS

What I have learned so far is not to make the decision to delay SS until you are 62.

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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 05:20 PM   #216
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Re: When to take SS

Independent,


I saw your conclusion. It seems to me that that are at least 3 things to consider (assuming one has enough money such that delaying SS is an option) at 62 when contemplating taking SS:

1) Expected longevity - If you expect to die early take it as soon as possible. If you live long, you might benefit from taking it later for the higher COLAd annuity.
2) Taxes, if one has a high provisional income, SS taxes get brutal, it might make sense to delay to keep the lower tax rate for Trad IRA conversion to Roth.
3) How the markets are doing at the time. IF they are bad, it might make sense to take it to reduce the stress on the portfolio... Assuming pushing the WR below 4% reduces stress.


Are there more considerations?
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 05:25 PM   #217
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Re: When to take SS


[moderator edit]

Nice analysis Chinaco. However what I keep coming back to is that I think most people already know what they're going to do and it doesnt have a lot to do with the numbers.

In my case, I'll take the bird in the hand, self direct my own investments, use the SS income as a tool in the toolbox to defer or avoid taxes or making excess withdrawals.
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 06:26 PM   #218
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Re: When to take SS

There are some problems with using FIRECalc to determine the optimum time to take SS (Boy, is that an understatement). First, if you are an ER, you probably need to look at retirement periods longer than 30 years. This is a problem for historical simulators as has been discussed several times on this board. Without looking at longer periods, you would have to neglect some of the period of time between retirement and SS benefits, but this is as critical to the result as the period after withdrawal.

Another problem is that FIRECalc is a worst case simulator. That can be very useful to determine what minimum portfolio amount you want to start retirement with. It is not as useful as a tool to maximize life income. If you are choosing a 100% safe scenario, for example, a single starting year will determine the FIRECalc SWR result. That single starting year may be the only one that favors an early (or late) benefit start date, with all 130+ other years favoring the opposite.

This is not a one-size-fits-all decision. Factors that clearly affect the optimum decision, but are different for each indivdual include:
1) How long you will live.
2) Size of your portfolio relative to SS benefit.
3) How much you spend early and late in your retirement. Some people slow down a lot. Some don't.
4) How healthy and active you will be in latter years. You could find a way to increase available income in later years and not be able to enjoy it.
5) Personal risk aversion.
6) Tax situation during retirement.
7) Modifications to the tax and/or SS benefit calculations.
.
.
.
Of these factors, only 1 and 2 are included in FIRECalc and 1 is a guess.
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 08:10 PM   #219
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Re: When to take SS


One thing I’ve noticed when running FC for various SS begin dates was that while the SWR’s difference between 62 and 66 were about $1,000 (for the totals I used) but the difference for SS at 62 vs. 66 was $5,000. All runs were done for a 95% survival. This would seem to say 1.) The additional WD to delay SS has negatively affected the portfolio and 2.) That you cannot ‘spend’ all the additional 66 money (beginning at 62) and still expect a 95% SWR. This (dare I say) might make a case for an immediate annuity to cover the time span rather than portfolio WD’s.
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Re: When to take SS
Old 05-20-2007, 08:58 PM   #220
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Re: When to take SS

Just noticed this and thought it might have some interest to those whacking this question about:

http://www.reuters.com/article/polit...2&pageNumber=1

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