Those Social Security ‘break-even’ calculations can be misleading

Personal Finance


You should think twice about break-even ages if you’re married.

“For a married couple, thinking in terms of break-even age is actually dangerous,” Elsasser said.

Someone who is married and looking at the breakeven is saying, “I think I should claim early because I’m not sure that I have a long enough life expectancy to cross my break-even age,” according to Elsasser.

“There is a lot of I’s and my’s in that statement, which means there’s no concern for the impact of my decision on my spouse,” Elsasser said.

If you’re married, your spouse should be a big consideration in your claiming decision. That is because starting benefits earlier can also reduce your spouse’s benefits if they plan to claim on your work record.

How long you and your spouse expect to live should also be weighed when deciding on a strategy.

“I would not leave it to guesswork,” Piershale said. “It’s just not that easy to figure out by being intuitive. You should really put the pencil to the paper and just run some numbers.”

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