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Investing Blog Roundup: Calculating When to Take Social Security

Financial planner Allan Roth featured the Open Social Security calculator in an AARP article this week.

Roth summarized the Social Security decision succinctly: delaying does not give you an 8% return (despite what some people say). Still, most unmarried people and married people who are the higher earner in their marriage should wait until 70.

He also stressed one thing that I haven’t discussed very much here: the fact that the calculator uses year-by-year probability of being alive rather than assuming that the user dies in a given year. The difference is not significant for a single person. But for a married couple, it more accurately reflects the expected outcome (i.e., with a greater duration of time between the first spouse’s death and the second), with the net result being that Open Social Security is more likely to suggest an early filing date for the lower earner and a later filing date for the higher earner than other calculators or DIY analyses might.

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My new Social Security calculator: Open Social Security