NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- You'd think retirees, especially cash-strapped baby boomers, would have a plan on how to claim Social Security benefits.
But you'd be wrong.
Says who? Says Securian Financial Group, a St. Paul, Minn., investment advisory firm.
Securian just released a survey showing less than 20% of boomers have a good idea on how they want to handle their Social Security payouts.Securian's survey focused on 804 consumers, aged 50-65, "to learn the extent of Social Security's role in boomers' retirement income planning." The inescapable conclusion: Americans nearing retirement don't have a clue how and when they'll start claiming Social Security benefits. "Our survey found that only 18% of baby boomers are making decisions now about how they'll claim Social Security," says Michelle Hall, a market research manager with the firm. "But their focus on Social Security may be rising, because half of that 18% tweaked their plans within the last three years." Securian focuses largely on those 18% of respondents who do have a retirement plan linked to Social Security. About 50% of those respondents started working on their Social Security claims between ages 60 and 65. Another 40% say they have started working on their payout plan between ages 50 and 55. Of those boomers who are developing a Social Security plan, nothing is hard and fast. These near-retirees are changing their strategies on the fly:
- 59% of the "planners" cited by Securian say they will change the age at which they retire.
- 48% will change the age at which they begin claiming Social Security benefits.
- 14% say they are making changes in the way their spouses will collect Social Security.