First Person: I Was Ignorant About Social Security

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A recent survey showed 29 percent of people in Generation X plan to claim Social Security at age 65. Knowing Gen Xers can't receive full retirement until age 67, some experts wonder if the generation is simply ignorant when it comes to Social Security. As a member of Gen X, I am skeptical about Social Security because I know the system is flawed. However, I always intended to work at least until age 67 to get my full benefits. My mom worked until she was 70 to collect Social Security. However, I never planned to stretch it by an additional three years until I became educated on how it works.

Informing the slacker generation

A recent article by US News and World Report suggested members of Generation X, or those born between 1965 and 1983, are doomed to collect partial Social Security benefits due to ignorance about the retirement age. It's true most members of my generation aren't thinking too deeply about retirement yet. In my case, I'm still 27 years away from full retirement age of 67. However, I know the older generations raised Social Security age for my so-called slacker generation.

Looking at the numbers

The first consideration when deciding when I should take social security is the financial impact. According to experts, Gen Xers who take Social Security at age 65 will get a reduced monthly payment of 13.3 percent. I know too many older baby boomers who retired at 62 only to have their benefits cut by 30 percent. Gen Xers who retire at age 66 will still receive 6.7 percent lower benefits. Considering some retirement experts anticipate all of Generation X and younger generations will receive a Social Security cut of 30 percent, it seems ridiculous to choose lower payments.

Collecting at an older age

According to the study, nearly a quarter of people in my generation plan to wait to collect Social Security until they are 68 or older. Social Security checks increase by 8 percent for every year I delay up to age 70. I never knew that I could receive a considerably higher Social Security check by waiting until age 70. I know my mom is happy she waited until she was 70 to recently retire. One of the keys is having a great job. My mom loved working as a librarian. I don't need to retire early since I love my work.

Even though I plan to work until I'm 70, a lot of people from my generation still intend to collect Social Security benefits at age 62. According to the MetLife report, once they were told about the reduced amount they receive by taking benefits early, some Gen Xers changed their survey responses. However, experts were surprised a number of people still intended to retire early and take partial benefits. I think those Gen Xers will change their minds when they see how baby boomers are struggling to make ends meet on reduced benefits. I'm motivated to save even more for retirement after hearing about baby boomers having to file bankruptcy and lose their homes to foreclosure.

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