“My parents and grandparents died in their early 70s. They did not have the Longevity Gene, so neither do I. Because of this, my genes influence what age I will claim Social Security."
Over the last ten years, I have heard this statement so many times from people. They believe that longevity doesn’t run in their family, so they are probably going to die young also. They think they should claim Social Security at age 62 to get as much as they can before they die. And they allow their possible genes to influence them when making Social Security Benefit decisions.
That appears to be sound logic and a good reason to claim your Social Security as early as possible. But according to recent research on longevity, your genetics – or your genes – play a smaller role than you think.
Research Shows Genes Only Play a Small Role in Social Security Claiming Age
According to an article published by Dr Mark Stibich, the Genetic Theory of Aging, and research published by the University of Gothenburg, your genes are only responsible for about 30% - 35% of how long you can expect to live. The other 65% - 70% of your longevity is determined by your lifestyle, or how you take care of yourself.
Things like: do you eat right, exercise, don’t smoke, don’t drink too much, and see your doctor on a regular basis. If you do those things right, that can greatly increase how long you will live. Even if your parents and grandparents died at a relatively young age, you can still outlive them by many years if you take care of yourself. This is something to consider when allowing your genes to influence your claiming decisions.
Another consideration is all the medical advances that have been made since your parents and grandparents died. If you are currently in your late 50s-60s and your parents died young, they probably died decades ago.
Since their death, there have been many amazing medical advances made that help keep people alive for many more years. Even if you don’t have the healthiest lifestyle! With all of these recent medical advances, it increases your chances of living longer than your parents or grandparents did.
Once again, your genes are only responsible for about 30% - 35% of your life expectancy. If you take care of yourself and have a good lifestyle, you could end up living a lot longer than your parents or grandparents did. Your lifestyle is responsible for 65% - 70% of your life expectancy. If you don’t have a good lifestyle and don’t have a history of longevity in your family, then claiming Social Security at age 62 is probably a good idea. In this case, your genes should influence your Social Security claiming age.
But if you do take care of yourself and have a good lifestyle, even if you don’t have a history of longevity in your family, you could end up living for a much longer than you'd expect. In this case, your genes should only be a small influence in your Social Security options.