Rethinking Social Security Claiming in a 401(k) World
Freedom to Work Act
This chapter argues that previous research on Social Security take-up alternatives has failed to recognize critical factors that greatly impact the discussion on when it is most beneficial to start Social Security retirement benefits. We show that the effect of taxes can have a dramatic effect on the financial security of retirees, yet the taxation caused by IRA withdrawals and the interaction with Social Security has been largely misunderstood. In addition, changes made under the Senior Citizens’ Freedom to Work Act of 2000 make delaying Social Security for married couples much more favorable. We also show how the traditional approach of starting Social Security benefits early and deriving income from stock and bond mutual funds is expected to under-perform a strategy that takes income from personal retirement assets first and is followed by increased benefits from Social Security.