Tom Margenau urges readers to avoid making important decisions based on crazy rumors in the latest edition of his column, “Social Security And You:”
Q: I’m about to turn 66. I want to put off starting my Social Security until age 70 because if I do, I’ll get an extra $600 or so per month in a delayed retirement bonus added to by Social Security checks. But my husband said I should take my Social Security now because he doesn’t think Social Security will even be there in another four years. So should I take it now or wait until age 70?
A: Before I answer your question, let me suggest that you guys better sell all your earthly possessions and move into a cave because I read somewhere on the Internet that the world is going to end in the next couple of weeks!
Dumb idea, right? Well, no offense, but so is your husband’s … or, let me clarify that: He might have the right plan for you, but he’s suggesting it for the wrong reason.
I have worked on Social Security issues for 40 years now, and for 40 years, people have been predicting the program’s imminent demise. Social Security is not going away. It will change. It has changed a lot in the last 75 years, and it will undoubtedly change in the next 75 years.
And if there are reforms in the next couple of years, those reforms will not impact people like you. Major changes to the program, such as an increase in the retirement age, are phased in over decades. If the retirement age goes up to 68, for example, that change will impact our kids and grandkids, but not old geezers like you and me.
So you should make your decisions based on the Social Security program we have today, not on your husband’s nebulous predictions for the future of the program.