Income Imbalance: Non-Retired Americans Knowingly Forgo Highest Social Security Payments

Majority aged 60-65 don’t expect to be able to replace at least 75% of their last paycheck in retirement income


New York – September 13, 2022 – According to the Schroders 2022 U.S. Retirement Survey, 86% of non-retired Americans 45 and older are aware they could receive higher Social Security payments by delaying the start of their benefits, yet just 11% of respondents plan to wait to age 70 – the age at which an individual reaches their maximum monthly benefit – to begin taking their Social Security benefits.

Almost one-third (32%) said they would take benefits before 70 because they are concerned Social Security may run out of money/stop making payments, and 31% said they expected they would need the money sooner.

Close tohalf (48%) of non-retired Americans surveyed plan to begin taking Social Security between the ages of 62-65 (before reaching full benefit age), 19% plan to file between ages 66-69, and 22%are unsure when they will claim Social Security.

Even among those not retired and approaching retirement age (60-65), only 11% said they will take their benefits at age 70. Why? Because they will need the money sooner, according to 38% of these respondents.

What period of life after age 65 do non-retired Americans expect to be the most expensive? The early years, according to almost half. More specifically:

  • Ages 65-74: 49%
  • Ages 75-84: 30%
  • Ages 85+: 21%

“Delaying Social Security to increase your benefit is a tried and true means of generating more income in retirement, but it’s a path few are prepared to take,” said Joel Schiffman, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Schroders.“This validates what we found in our survey last year when we first saw that only ten percent planned to wait until age 70 to take higher benefits. Given increasing life expectancies and widespread concerns about not being able to live comfortably without a paycheck, the advantages of creating a retirement income strategy that maximizes your Social Security benefits can’t be overstated.”

On Doorstep of Retirement, Income Replacement Needs Low or Confusing; One-Third Terrified at Thought of Paycheck Disappearing

Among non-retired survey respondents nearing retirement (age 60-65), 55% don’t believe they will be able to replace 75% of their last paycheck in retirement income. And the vast majority don’t believe they will have to: just 23% said they needed to replace 75% of their final paycheck to live comfortably. They are more likely to say they will need to replace less than 50% of their final paycheck (27% of respondents).

Of significant concern, almost one-quarter (23%) of those nearing retirement (60-65) have no idea how much monthly income they will need to generate in retirement to live comfortably; and most are concerned (53%) or terrified (33%) by the idea of no more regular employment paychecks.

No Retirement Income Strategy in Sight for One-in-Two Retirees

According to the survey, the three most popular strategies retirees are using to generate income include:

  • Systematic withdrawals from retirement accounts (e.g., IRA, 401k plan) (29%)
  • Dividend-producing stocks or mutual funds (18%)
  • Annuities (15%)

However, approximately half of all retirees (49%) surveyed said they don't have any strategies to generate retirement income and instead withdraw money as needed.

Strong Demand for Retirement Income Solutions in DC Plans

Approximately half (48%) of those survey respondents currently participating in a workplace retirement plan (e.g., 401k, 403b, or 457 plan) said their plan offers retirement income products, while 19% said the plan didn’t have income products, and 33% were unsure. Of those who do not have or are unsure if they have a retirement income product in their plan, 62% said they wish they did.

Among those in a plan that offers a retirement income product, almost 9 in 10 (89%) said they are likely to use the product when they retire, keeping assets in their employer plan.

The top five features retirement plan participants seek in an in-plan retirement income solution include:

  • Lifetime income (52%)
  • Consistent monthly paycheck-like income (49%)
  • Low fees/cost (42%)
  • Liquidity/Access to money whenever they want (40%)
  • Protection from market corrections/down markets (39%)

“More progress needs to be made to help defined contribution participants make the transition from saving to spending,” said Mr. Schiffman.“The SECURE act was a crucial step toward putting retirement income front and center and made it easier for plan sponsors to introduce insured solutions into DC plans. However, more needs to be done to educate participants on the importance of higher income replacement, and that comes from planning for retirement income early in their careers.”

For more information on the Schroders 2022 U.S. Retirement Survey, visit

About the Survey

The Schroders 2022 U.S. Retirement survey was conducted by 8 Acre Perspective among 1,000 U.S. investors nationwide ages 45 –75 fromFebruary 17 – February 28. 2022. The median household income for working Americans surveyed was $75,000. The survey included 317 respondents with employer-provided defined contribution retirement plans.

For further information, please contact:

Jennifer Manser O’Rourke, Head of Corporate Communications, North America


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