This past week over at U.S. News – Money, there was a post by Philip Moeller: “Don’t Get ‘Framed’ When Claiming Social Security.” Essentially the article is about how many people who are eligible to start their Social Security Benefit make their decision based on how the benefits are “framed;” that is, how they are presented to the potential benefit earner.

There are several different ways the situation can be “framed” which Moeller goes into detail about. We won’t discuss them here, except to say that each way of framing could lead to the same person with the same benefits to make a different choice about when to take his benefit. One way of framing may lead him to take his benefit at the earliest age of 62; another way of framing may lead him to take his benefit at 70.

Moeller’s point is that you should be fully informed about the ins and outs of your individual benefit and your potential lifetime benefit before making a decision. If you are presented with a certain way to look at your benefit, don’t assume it is the best option for you.

This is especially important if you are married, which may introduce the spousal benefit. Your decision about when to begin receiving your Social Security Benefit may potentially have a big impact on your spouse’s benefit. Many people don’t consider this when taking their own benefit.

Not considering all the avenues you can take with your Social Security benefits can cost you a lot of money over your lifetime. In some cases, taking benefits too early may cost you into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your life (depending of course on your benefit amount and how long you live).

Again, when you are getting close to Social Security eligibility, get to know your benefits. Be prepared before you get “framed.”


  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.