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Recent Changes In The Gains From Delaying Social Security

Author

Listed:
  • John Shoven

    () (Stanford University)

  • Sita Slavov

    (American Enterprise Institute)

Abstract

Social Security retirement benefits can be claimed at any age between 62 and 70, with delayed claiming resulting in larger monthly payments. In Shoven and Slavov (2013), we show that claiming later increases the present value of lifetime benefits for most individuals. However, this has not always been the case. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, a number of policy changes increased the gains from delay, particularly for couples. In addition, mortality improved and real interest rates fell substantially over this period, further increasing the attractiveness of delay. We perform simulations to examine the role of these factors in changing the gains from delay. We find that the gains from delay increased substantially after 2000, with changes in the interest rate playing the largest role in driving the increase. Using data from the Health and Retirement study, we show that individuals who turned 62 after 2000 are indeed more likely to delay than those who turned 62 before 2000. However, even in the younger cohort, most individuals still claim benefits soon after turning 62. Moreover, we find no evidence of a relationship between the probability of delay and the individual characteristics (e.g., gender, race, or health status) that affect the gains from delay.

Suggested Citation

  • John Shoven & Sita Slavov, 2013. "Recent Changes In The Gains From Delaying Social Security," Discussion Papers 13-019, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:13-019
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    File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/13-019.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael D. Hurd & James P. Smith & Julie M. Zissimopoulos, 2004. "The effects of subjective survival on retirement and Social Security claiming," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 761-775.
    2. Steven A. Sass & Wei Sun & Anthony Webb, 2007. "Why Do Married Men Claim Social Security Benefits So Early? Ignorance or Caddishness?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-17, Center for Retirement Research, revised Oct 2007.
    3. Alicia H. Munnell & Alex Golub-Sass & Nadia Karamcheva, 2009. "Strange But True: Claim Social Security Now, Claim More Later," Issues in Brief ib2009-9-9, Center for Retirement Research, revised Apr 2009.
    4. Natalia A. Jivan, 2004. "How Can The Actuarial Reduction For Social Security Early Retirement Be Right?," Just the Facts jtf11, Center for Retirement Research.
    5. Jeffrey B. Liebman & Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2015. "Would People Behave Differently If They Better Understood Social Security? Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 275-299, February.
    6. Alicia H. Munnell & Steven A. Sass, 2012. "Can the Actuarial Reduction for Social Security Early Retirement Still Be Right?," Issues in Brief ib2012-6, Center for Retirement Research, revised Mar 2012.
    7. Jeffrey R. Brown & Arie Kapteyn & Olivia Mitchell, 2011. "Framing Effects and Expected Social Security Claiming Behavior," Working Papers WR-854, RAND Corporation.
    8. Andrew Beauchamp & Mathis Wagner, 2012. "Dying to Retire: Adverse Selection and Welfare in Social Security," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 818, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 15 Aug 2013.
    9. Jeffrey R. Brown & Arie Kapteyn & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Framing Effects and Expected Social Security Claiming Behavior," NBER Working Papers 17018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alan J. Auerbach & Kerwin K. Charles & Courtney C. Coile & William Gale & Dana Goldman & Ronald Lee & Charles M. Lucas & Peter R. Orszag & Louise M. Sheiner & Bryan Tysinger & David N. Weil & Justin W, 2017. "How the Growing Gap in Life Expectancy May Affect Retirement Benefits and Reforms," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 42(3), pages 475-499, July.
    2. Andreas Hubener & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2016. "How Family Status and Social Security Claiming Options Shape Optimal Life Cycle Portfolios," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 29(4), pages 937-978.
    3. Aspen Gorry & Devon Gorry & Sita Slavov, 2015. "Does Retirement Improve Health and Life Satisfaction?," NBER Working Papers 21326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gopi Shah Goda & Shanthi Ramnath & John B. Shoven & Sita Nataraj Slavov, 2015. "The Financial Feasibility of Delaying Social Security: Evidence from Administrative Tax Data," NBER Working Papers 21544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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