The Most “Stupid” Social Security Question Ever…

//The Most “Stupid” Social Security Question Ever…

The Most “Stupid” Social Security Question Ever…

My mother always told me there is no such thing as a stupid question. But in this case I am going to make an exception because when it comes to Social Security claiming decisions, this question really is stupid. After I tell you why I think its stupid I think you will agree. The stupid question that gets asked all the time is:

“WHEN DO YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING TO DIE?”

I’ve seen this question so many times in books and articles about Social Security or even when using a Social Security calculator. Numerous “experts” people will tell you that the best age to claim your Social Security benefits depends on the age that you think you are going to die. So, in order to determine the best Social Security claiming strategy for you, or you and your spouse, they want you to make a prediction about when you think you are going to die. If you are married, they also require you to predict the year in which your spouse is going to die. Then based upon the dates of death that you predict, they will tell you when you should claim your Social Security benefits. This appears to be standard operating procedure within the industry – but I think its crazy. No, it’s not crazy, it’s stupid (sorry mom). Let me tell you why.

Imagine for a moment that you’re single and about to turn 62. You need help with your claiming decision so you turn to a traditional Social Security calculator that asks you to predict the year you will die. Did you know you have a 4% chance of it actually being right? Looking at it another way, you have a 96% chance of being WRONG. Your Social Security claiming decision is one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your life. Do you think its smart to base your claiming decision upon a prediction that has a 96% chance of being wrong?

Its even worse for married couples because they have to predict dates of death for both the husband and the wife. Those predicted dates of death will determine the recommendation for when they should claim their Social Security benefits. There is less than a 1% chance that both spouses die on their predicted dates of death. In other words, there is a greater than 99% chance they are wrong! Do you think its smart to base your Social Security claiming decision upon a prediction that has a greater than 99% probability of being wrong?!

Here’s another stupid thing, change your predicted dates of death and you could radically change the recommended claiming strategy. By that I mean it could tell you to claim your benefits at radically different ages from its previous recommendation when you used different predicted dates of death.

One last stupid thing. Sometimes they ask you to make even more predictions, like rates of return on assets, projected tax brackets and projected rates of inflation. The more predictions they ask you to make the greater the probability that you are wrong!

When determining your Social Security claiming strategy, you should not be asked to make any predictions. You should be asked straightforward questions with concrete answers. That is what my Paid to Wait calculator does – it asks straightforward questions with concrete answers. Visit the Calculator section of my website to gain access today and receive your simple, custom, Social Security plan in less than 5 minutes!

By |2019-02-11T17:17:34+00:00March 16th, 2018|1 Comment

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  1. Working at Walmart October 22, 2022 at 10:56 pm

    Good post.

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