Is Social Security Claiming Influenced by How Information Is Framed?

by Jeffrey R. Brown, Olivia Mitchell, Arie Kapteyn

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Abstract

Americans can begin claiming social security benefits between ages 62 and 70. However, the age chosen to begin claiming affects the amount of money received. Researchers studied whether the way in which benefit information is framed influences someone's choice of claiming age. They found that those who read about options in terms of a breakeven point ("You will come out ahead only if you live to age y") chose earlier claiming ages, and those whose benefits were described in terms of gains rather than losses ("Delaying claiming for one year will increase your benefit by $d") induced waiting.

This issue of Insight summarizes research conducted within the Financial Literacy Center.

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