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A majority of baby boomers fail to make a retirement plan and so may not maximize their Social Security benefits.
"Our survey found that only 18 percent of baby boomers are making decisions now about how they'll claim Social Security," said Michelle Hall, manager of market research at Securian, which conducted the research. "But their focus on Social Security may be rising, because half of that 18 percent tweaked their plans within the last three years.
Among those boomers who altered their Social Security strategies, 59 percent said that they changed their expected retirement ages. Additionally, 48 percent of those respondents with a plan said they changed the age at which they would start collecting benefits. More than 40 percent of respondents said they have yet to decide when they will retire.
However, these findings mean a vast majority, 82 percent, of boomers have not made plans for when they will begin to collect Social Security. That may be in part because 17 percent of boomers without a plan do not expect to receive any retirement income from Social Security.
"The number of boomers who expect to receive no Social Security benefits or aren't sure how much they'll receive reflects the group's insecurity about financial security in retirement," said Hall.
The researchers found that people planning for retirement began to do so at benchmark ages of 62, 55 and 50. When respondents without a retirement plan begin to look at claiming Social Security, they will usually gather information from one of a number of places. Sixty-six percent of respondents said they will visit the official Social Security website, while 40 percent will travel to local Social Security offices to get information.
The research was based on the responses of 804 baby boomers.