Christine Benz: You hear from individuals grappling with questions about Social Security claiming. Let's cycle through some of the key pitfalls that you have observed. One is relying on a break-even analysis to guide decision-making--in other words, thinking about claiming early and investing Social Security proceeds. You say that individuals should instead wait to claim and think about Social Security as an insurance policy.
Phil Moeller: One of the strongest discussions we have with individuals is this idea of a break-even analysis. It's very beguiling to think that if you take benefits at age 62 and invest them for eight years at a reasonable rate of return, you'll end up with a very nice pile of money--and it would take you a long time to earn that money back in the form of the higher Social Security payout that you would receive if you waited until age 70 to take benefits. When people conduct these analyses, they often wonder, "Why should I wait to take benefits?"