Tuesday, April 1, 2014 | 2 a.m.
Regarding the letter “Get that columnist a new calculator,” it seems the letter writer could use help, as well. He writes about the Social Security “optimal full benefit age of 72.” The actual “full benefit” age depends on when you are born. The full benefit age is 66 for those born in 1943-1954, slowly rising until it reaches 67 for those born later than 1959. The maximum benefit age is 70, with no increase after age 70.
Delaying receiving Social Security after the full benefit age depends on your personal situation. Sure, delaying gives you a larger monthly payment, but fewer of them. A simple spreadsheet showed that getting maximum benefit starting at 70 only produces more total payments than the full benefit at 66 if you’re lucky to live longer than approximately 85.
I do agree with his conclusion that the system needs adjusting. Any financial program where current participants receive payments based on inflow from new participants can arguably be called a Ponzi scheme and must eventually fail when not enough new suckers — excuse me, participants — can be found.