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.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Working paper brief series. RAND working paper briefs are short summaries of reviewed working papers that are aimed at a policy audience. Unless otherwise indicated, working paper briefs can be quoted and cited without permission of the author, provided the source is clearly referred to as a working paper briefs.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.