How Old Are You?

What’s your date of birth is the first question always asked when I run a Social Security analysis, but is it the right question to ask?  Your chronological age is used to determine when is the earliest you claim, your FRA (Full Retirement Age) allows you to claim without worrying about the Earnings Test and if you delay until age 70 you receive maximum benefits.  But is using one’s Birthday the best or most important parameter as to when to claim benefits?

What’s your check out date?

How old do you feel, might be a better question to ask?  Some people feel older than they actually are, but the great majority of people feel younger. One’s Biological Age might be a better determinant for when to claim Social Security.  Having just turned 67, I can honestly say I don’t feel a day over 50 and I always say that if I’m in better physical shape than my youngest brother (56) then I can retain his age.   Thus, one’s Biological Age (and your spouses) might be a better indicator of when to file!


    • At what age did several of our early Presidents die?
    • George Washington?
    • John Adams?
    • Thomas Jefferson?
    • James Madison?
    • James Monroe?
    • John Quincy Adams?
    • Andrew Jackson?
    • Bonus:  Ben Franklin?

Answers:   67 – 90 – 83 – 85 – 73 – 80 -78 – 84

The reason this is important is that life expectancy in 1789 was only 28.2 years versus 78.7 years today, the reason for the huge improvement was the horrifyingly high infant and child mortality rates.  What is interesting is that life expectancy in 1789 for someone 80 was 5.9 years vs 9 years today.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that the longer you live, the longer you live!

Do you have a Longevity Insurance Policy?

There are currently 451,000 people in the world over age 100, the USA accounts for 72,000.  Social Security is Longevity Insurance, in the event that you might live into your 80’s 90’s or beyond.  In his recently released book Moshe Milevsky – Longevity Insurance for a Biological Age, he mentions we have home insurance, life insurance, car insurance, etc., does it make sense to Longevity Insurance?

What’s $38,000 per year

The reason this is so extremely important is that if you or your spouse live into your 80’s,  90’s or beyond the last thing you will want to do is have the higher earning spouse claim prior to age 70!  To put this into perspective an individual who will be 64 this year and has maxed out FICA withholding over their lifetime has a projected check at 66 & 2 months (FRA) of $2,888 if they claim at 62 the check will be $2,166 per month, where the individual who waits until 70 will receive $4,378 per month.  More importantly to illustrate this month’s topic should both individuals live until age 90 (or the spouse) there is a $3,200 per month difference in checks or $38,000 per year!!!!  (I’m assuming a 2% Cost of living adjustment annually)

Are your parents still alive?  If deceased at what age, did they die and what was the cause of death?  What was their life style like, did they eat healthy, did they go to the gym, smoke, etc. ?

Are you still working?  Do you anticipate continuing to work?  People who continue to work and who have purpose live longer than those who retire to the couch or golf course!


Before you claim Social Security benefits, please, please, please understand the consequences of this decision for you and your spouse!  If you have family, friends, neighbors, etc. who are contemplating claiming give them my contact information.

I just completed an analysis for a couple in CA where she had claimed in 2017 when she turned 66, her husband is waiting until 70 before claiming, they didn’t know that he could claim spousal benefits based upon her record (Restricted Claiming Provision) when he turned 66 in 2018 while he still waits until 70 to claim on his own record.  The most we can retroactively go back is 6 months!  Don’t make mistakes!

Have a most excellent Memorial Day weekend and beginning of summer,


Live in a constant state of contentment!

Dave Zander, CFP®