Lack of confidence about the future of Social Security has led many Americans mistakenly to believe that they had better file for Social Security benefits as soon as they are eligible (typically when they turn 62), so they can lock in their benefits before Social Security "is gone." Yet Social Security's finances are more secure than most Americans think, and analysis shows that for the typical American it is economically advantageous to start taking benefits no earlier than full retirement age (now 66) and in many cases to delay taking benefits until age 70. To help American workers make retirement decisions based on accurate information, it is imperative to both clarify the future of Social Security's finances and its capacity to meet future benefit commitments and to communicate the advantages of delaying benefits.
Funds from this grant support a project by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) to design and execute an integrated public education initiative aimed at helping middle- and lower-income Americans understand how they can enhance their long-term retirement security by working longer and delaying receipt of Social Security benefits. NASI will produce a series of accurate, high-quality written, visual, and graphic materials accessible to the public that will lay out the economic advantages of working longer and delaying Social Security and combat commonly held misconceptions about the economics of retirement. Based on the most up-to-date research, the materials will then be disseminated to the public through financial planners, HR professionals, journalists, and non-profit community-based grassroots organizations.