90% of Americans Plan to Claim Social Security Before 70: Survey

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What You Need to Know

Only 10% of non-retired respondents said that they would wait until age 70 to receive their maximum Social Security payments.
The choice to decline larger Social Security payments is a deliberate one, the survey found.
Fear about the stability of Social Security has people walking away from more money for retirement, Schroders says.

Forty percent of non-retired Americans plan to take their Social Security benefits between the ages of 62 and 65, leaving them short of qualifying for their full retirement benefits, according to a survey released Tuesday by Schroders.

Only 10% of non-retired respondents said that they would wait until age 70 to receive their maximum Social Security benefit payments, including 17% of non-retirees between 60 and 65.

The choice to forgo larger Social Security payments is a deliberate one, the survey found. Seventy-two percent of non-retired investors — and 95% of non-retirees between 60 and 65 — indicated that they were aware that waiting longer means higher payments.

Those who plan to take benefits before age 70 gave various reasons for doing so:

“We have a crisis of confidence in the Social Security system and it’s costing American workers real money,” Deb Boyden, head of U.S. defined contribution at Schroders, said in a statement.

“Fear about the stability of Social Security has people walking away from money that could improve their quality of life in retirement.”

Not waiting for their full benefit let alone the maximum means they will have to create more income on their own, Boyden said.

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The survey was conducted by 8 Acre Perspective from Feb. 13 to March 3 among 2,000 U.S. investors ages 27 to 79, including, for the first time, respondents between 27 and 44. The median household income for working Americans in the survey was $75,000.

Average Monthly Retirement Income

Pollsters asked non-retired participants to forecast how much monthly income they will need to enjoy a comfortable retirement. On average, they said they will need $4,940.

Non-retired millennials predicted that they will need $5,135 per month, while near-retirees ages 60 to 65 said $4,855 per month.

Retired participants said their total monthly income, including Social Security, is $4,170 on average, though 37% said their monthly income is less than $2,500.

The survey found that having a financial advisor and a plan pays off. The average monthly income, including Social Security, for retirees with an advisor is $5,075.

Retirees with a formal financial plan report that their monthly income is $5,810 on average. This is nearly twice the $3,000 per month of income those without a financial plan reported.