Social Security Decisions: Should Recipients Opt for Early Payments?


Two Excel-based templates are developed to help determine when it is optimal for starting to receive monthly social security benefits. The decision information accounts for uncertain life expectancy by implementing a rate of return that should be set, at a minimum, to the individual’s expected return on investments or based on a metric provided in the article that considers potential life expectancy.

Key Takeaways:

Excel templates allow for a comparison of receiving lower monthly social security benefits at an earlier age versus waiting for higher monthly benefits at a later age.

A “reserve rule of 72” metric allows for adjustments on comparing the different social security payment structures based on life expectancy.

Other adjustments for comparing the different social security structures can made for those who work while receiving benefits.

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



This working paper is forthcoming as an article in the Journal of Wealth Management and hence is no longer available to be downloaded. However, the associated Excel file is still available.

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Copyright © 2022 The Authors.

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