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  #911  
Old 05-17-2018, 09:50 AM
nonactuarialactuary nonactuarialactuary is online now
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Originally Posted by campbell View Post
Mass Mutual has a Social Security knowledge quiz:
https://www.massmutual.com/planning/...-security-quiz

Yes, I got all 10 questions right, and those who have looked at SocSec reforms should be able to answer these.

Most people aren't deep into Social Security details, though:
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/15/half...-benefits.html
Seems like they intentionally phrase a few of the questions harder than they need to be. People do poorly on the test, figure they donít know all that much about Social Security, so they decide to pay Mass Mutual for financial advisory service in retirement. For instance, look at the first question (they all want T/F responses):

Quote:
Q1: Social Security retirement benefits are based on my earnings history; I'll receive the same monthly benefit amount whether I start collecting before or after my full retirement age.
The first clause is true. The second clause is false. I answered false, and got it right, but I can totally understand why people would get it wrong, especially if they didnít take much time with the quiz.

The fourth question was weird too:

Quote:
Q4: Under current Social Security law, my benefits will not be reduced if I claim them at age 65.
The normal retirement age is anywhere from 65 to 67 for people alive today. For older people, the answer is true. For younger people, the answer is false. I answered false and got it right because I assumed they were talking about future retirees, but why write an ambiguous question like that? Spell it out. Only 29% of people got that one right.

Then thereís question 7:

Quote:
Q7: My Primary Insurance Amount is the Social Security retirement benefit amount I will receive if I elect to receive my retirement benefit at age 62.
This is just testing whether or not you know what they named the benefit, which seems kind of irrelevant. I know opting to receive benefits at age 62 gets you the reduced early benefit, but I have no idea what itís officially called without looking it up. Probably some slick acronym.
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  #912  
Old 05-17-2018, 09:54 AM
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First, they did a stripped-down 5 question quiz: (in the spoiler on the article)

True/False:
Quote:
1. Under current Social Security law, my benefits will not be reduced if I claim them at age 65.

2. My spouse is eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits, even if he or she has no individual earnings history.

3. If my spouse dies, I will continue to receive both my own benefit and my deceased spouse's benefit; the total Social Security benefits I receive will not change.

4. Social Security retirement benefits are based on my earnings history; I'll receive the same monthly benefit amount whether I start collecting before or after my full retirement age.

5. If I am still working when I claim my Social Security, my benefit might be reduced, depending on my earnings and my age.
Those five are a lot less tricksy than the full 10 questions.

As for NRA of 65: the last group for whom that's the case were born in 1937.
https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/ProgData/nra.html

So the youngest of those folks are 80. I'm pretty sure everybody who has yet to get the benefits have a NRA of over 65.
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Old 05-19-2018, 02:36 PM
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http://www.latimes.com/business/hilt...425-story.html
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More evidence that raising the Social Security retirement age is no problem for the rich, but tough on the poor

Spoiler:
Not everyone can make it to a golf outing at 71 like President Trump, seen here on the links with a group of Coast Guard officers. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
Washington wonks love to portray raising the retirement age for Social Security as a painless "fix" for the program's finances.
After all, the thinking goes, the near-retired can be exempted from the increase, and since Americans on average are staying healthier into their later years, working longer and living longer in retirement, holding off retirement benefits is not only fair, but from a fiscal standpoint essential.
But a new study punctures this argument with stark data showing that within the average there are winners and losers — mostly distinguished by household earnings and wealth. The analysis comes from the Social Security actuaries, who showed in a study released last week that mortality rates among people 62 and older are inextricably linked to lifetime earnings. The higher the earnings, the lower the mortality rate.
The higher a person’s socioeconomic status — whether measured in earnings, income, or education — the longer his or her life expectancy.
The study tracked differential mortality rates — that is, how far above or below the average each of five income segments landed. The actuaries used average indexed monthly earnings — the average of a Social Security beneficiary's earnings over 35 years, which is used to compute the worker's primary retirement benefit. Then they compared the death rates among retirees by sex, age group, and AIME with the overall death rate for each sex and age group alone. That isolated the income factor.
What the actuaries found is that lifetime earnings are a powerful predictor of mortality. As Kathy Ruffing of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, among men ages 65 to 69, those in the lowest 20% of lifetime earnings (less than $22,400 a year) had death rates more than three times as high as those in the top 20% (annual earnings of $74,356 or more). Specifically, the lowest-income group had a mortality rate 65% higher than the average of all men ages 65 to 69, while the highest-earning had a rate 39% less than the average.
The spread between rich and poor narrowed for older groups, but never disappeared. The actuaries conjecture that the reason is that the healthiest members of each age group live the longest, and as the number of survivors shrinks, the wealth factor becomes less crucial.
Importantly, the study measured relative death rates, so it doesn't aim to show that mortality increases with age — just how wealth affects mortality within each age group.
The actuaries' study basically adds to a large and robust body of evidence showing a gulf in longevity between rich and poor. In 2016, Kathleen Romig of CBPP showed that "the higher a person's socioeconomic status — whether measured in earnings, income, or education — the longer his or her life expectancy." Moreover, she observed, the gap in life expectancy between rich and poor was growing, and the trend was accelerating.

Retirees with lower lifetime earnings have higher relative mortality rates at age 65-69 (left) and 75-79 (right). The poorest retirees are the top lines, highest-income at the bottom. The gap narrows with age, but never disappears. (Social Security Administration)
Romig's post joined studies by the National Academy of Sciences in 2015 and the Congressional Research Service in 2017 documenting the widening gap in life expectancy by income. The implications for Social Security reform nostrums are major. As the CRS noted in its 2017 report, proposals to raise the retirement age "would affect low earners disproportionately (i.e., reductions in their lifetime Social Security benefits would be considerably larger than for high earners)."
Such proposals fall into three categories. Some would raise the earliest eligibility age (currently 62), others would raise the full retirement age (currently 67 for those born in 1960 or later), and others would raise both. Any of these options would harm lower-income claimants more, because they would place benefits further out of reach or lead to shorter benefit periods for those who might die earlier.

Life expectancy is rising for all males 65+, but much faster for those at the high end of the income ladder. (CBPP)
That's not even counting that wealthier retirees can afford to delay claiming Social Security longer, which enables them to receive a premium of 24% over the benefits due them at normal retirement age. The higher benefit for late claiming, like the reduced benefit for claiming before the normal retirement age, is designed to be actuarially equivalent for those with average life expectancies — in other words, they collect more every month but for fewer years. But given the evidence that the wealthier have longer life expectancies, this increase gives them a disproportionate gain, too.
As we've written before, these factors help to explain why proposals to raise the retirement age tend to come from well-nurtured policy wonks comfortably ensconced in Washington think tanks, or from members of Congress assured of a decent government pension after they leave office.
One argument often heard in favor of increasing the retirement age is that it's been done before. The 1983 Social Security reforms raised the full retirement age to 67 from 65 in steps, and deferred the change well into the future. The first retirees affected by the increase were 45 in 1983 and therefore 20 years from retirement in 2003; their full retirement age was raised to 65 and two months from 65. But the differential impact between rich and poor may not have been as well understood in 1983 — certainly the growth of income and wealth inequality was not as much on policymakers' radar screens then as it is now.
Yet the idea that raising the retirement age is only a minor change persists. For many policymakers today, all Social Security recipients look the same — typically, like themselves. But incomes and life experiences are infinitely variable, which means that the consequences of tampering with the Social Security retirement age are a lot more complicated than they think.

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