Take the Money and Run

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Although it is true that patience is often rewarded when claiming Social Security, mathematics alone could make waiting costly ["Playing the Waiting Game," February 11].

In the story, the 62-year-old receiving $1,320 a month ($15,840 annually) would collect $126,720 over the eight-year waiting period. Thus, if he or she opted to wait until age 70 in order to receive the larger sum of $2,884 a month ($34,608 annually), it would take about seven years to recoup the $126,720 that he or she could have collected over the prior eight years. If the "boomer" should die before reaching the break-even point at age 76, then what happens? I can see where a larger monthly sum would be quite attractive and very beneficial over the long haul, but unless I could bank on really good genes or a substantial amount of other assets to supplement the de facto "loss" that I would incur by waiting, I don't think that I'd want to forgo the $126,720.

Dennis Cabral

Port Hueneme, Calif.  

My husband recently died after a long battle with Alzheimer's. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to start collecting Social Security at the age of 60 because I am a widow. The amount I receive is based on my husband's Social Security contributions because they were higher than mine. I can't imagine waiting until I turned 70 to collect. Life is way too unpredictable.

Bonnie VandenBerg

Capistrano Beach, Calif.