Clever Economy

3 Big Misconceptions About Social Security

The Social Security program is confusing. The program’s arcane rules trip up everybody — even experts — sometimes.

Americans of all ages misunderstand some key aspects of Social Security, according to the Nationwide Retirement Institute’s seventh-annual Social Security survey.

For example, the survey found that:

  • Large numbers of American adults do not understand that if they claim benefits early, their benefits will not go up automatically when they reach full retirement age. Just 45% of millennials, 49% of Generation Xers, and 69% of baby boomers and older generations understand this.
  • The vast majority of people in each age group incorrectly identified the age at which they are eligible for full benefits. That includes 97% of millennials, 90% of Generation Xers and 80% of baby boomers and older generations.
  • Fewer than 1 in 10 adults — 4% of millennials, 6% of Generation Xers and 7% of baby boomers and older — know all the factors that determine the maximum benefit.
  • The Harris Poll conducted the survey of more than 1,700 U.S. adults ages 24 and older. At the time of the survey, all participants were collecting or planning to collect Social Security benefits.

    The confusion should not surprise loyal Money Talks News readers. As we have pointed out in the past, representatives who work for the Social Security Administration sometimes give out bad advice.

    Mistakes are so common among Americans that we published a story about such missteps: “10 Things That Can Ding Your Social Security Payments.”

    Finding Social Security help

    If you are confused about the Social Security program — and how the rules work — it is crucial that you learn more about the program. Making the wrong decisions can cost you many thousands of dollars in retirement income.

    Social Security Choices is one place you can look for help. The company is among a handful that will give you a personalized analysis of your Social Security situation.

    Social Security Choices sells its product for $39.99. But Money Talks News readers can do even better. When buying a report, simply use the coupon code “moneytalks” to get a $10 discount off the usual price.

    For more, check out “A Simple Way to Maximize Your Social Security.”

    You can also find help for planning your retirement in Money Talks News’ Solutions Center. There, you can find a financial adviser or learn how to create a better budget.

    Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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