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Will you be one of Social Security's 2 percent?

SS Card 2.jpgIn the world of Social Security, 2 percent represents the number of retirees who delay taking their benefits until age 70. This is according to a January 2013 Fact Sheet from the Congressional Research Service. So, should you strive to become one of these rare individuals?

Much of the current research in financial planning leans towards delaying Social Security for as long as possible. Under most circumstances I too am a believer in this advice. Given today's possible 30 plus year retirements, it’s hard to undervalue the inflation-indexed, guaranteed lifetime income payments that Social Security has historically offered. Add on an 8 percent annual increase (for those born in 1943 or later) by not taking benefits after your full retirement age and this pillar of retirement success only gets stronger.

Of course, delaying Social Security until age 70 is not for everyone. While contemplating this decision I'd encourage you to ask yourself these questions first:

1. Am I still working?
2. Do I need the money?
3. Is there any reason to believe that I will not live until my full life expectancy?
4. Am I financially prepared if I live until, or well past, my life expectancy?
5. How will my decision affect my loved ones, especially my spouse?

Clearly, deciding when to take your Social Security retirement benefits is a personal and complicated decision. If you need help making this decision, don't be afraid to seek out the advice of a trained professional who has experience in helping individuals maximize their Social Security benefits.

D. Abraham Ringer, CFP® is a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which this article is directed. For more information please consult www.morganstanleyfa.com/ringer.

The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor's individual circumstances and objectives. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. The views expressed herein are those of the author, D. Abraham Ringer, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, Member SIPC www.sipc.org, or its affiliates.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S.

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