45%: Difference in median income between retirees who claimed Social Security early and those who waited until age 66.

There’s a 45% difference in median income between retirees who claimed Social Security early and those who waited until age 66, according to the U.S. Government and Accountability Office.  To be sure, some of that gap is because those who delayed claiming Social Security had greater income and wealth in retirement and relied less on Social Security than those who claimed earlier, the GAO said. But even when comparing retirees who either claimed early, or delayed, and had similar total incomes after claiming, those who put off drawing their benefits still came out ahead. The average household income for delayed claimants was still higher at age 72 than for those who claimed early.

Plan sponsors and their advisors have a lot of tools to choose from in their campaign to help participants toward their retirement goals. One to consider is teaching them the ins and outs of Social Security, as well as about the investments in their own 401(k) plan.

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Jul 22, 2014