Web-Based Tool Helps Individuals Maximize Their Social Security Benefits and Make the Most of What They Have for Retirement; Sometimes It "Pays to Wait"

As Baby Boomers approach retirement age, one of the most important decisions they’ll make is when to begin taking Social Security benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, nearly 80 million Americans will become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits over the next two decades: more than 10,000 per day on average. To help consumers simplify the decision-making process and maximize their Social Security benefit and income in retirement, MetLife today announced the launch of the MetLife Social Security Decision Tool ( This is the first comprehensive online tool to combine life expectancy tables with a Social Security benefits calculation in a simplified way.

"Social Security plays a critical role in helping consumers create a steady stream of retirement income. It is effectively the largest social insurance program, which relies on a principle known as pooling. It uses the power of large numbers of participants to ensure income for all," said Joseph W. Jordan, senior vice president of Individual Business Marketing at MetLife. "Large insurance companies rely on the same principle to provide, as an example, guaranteed income through their annuity products."

"For two-thirds of older Americans, Social Security represents 50 percent or more of their income, and often serves as the foundation of their overall retirement strategy," said Beth Hirschhorn, MetLife’s senior vice president, Global Brand and Marketing Services. "Unfortunately, a significant percentage of Americans are not maximizing their lifetime income Social Security benefit or making the most of what they have for retirement – due, in part, to a lack of understanding about their average life expectancy."

For Most, It Pays to Wait

While Social Security is only one part of an individual’s retirement income, understanding the lifetime value of benefits is a powerful tool to help clients build a retirement income strategy to meet their goals. Taking into account age, gender, years of employment, income and average life expectancy, the patent-pending MetLife Social Security Decision Tool calculates the financial impact of starting Social Security at different ages in just three simple steps. For example, a 50-year old woman who made $50,000 in her last full year of work could benefit significantly by waiting until age 66 to begin taking benefits. If she started receiving benefits at age 62, her monthly payment would be $1,087. The benefit increases to $1,584 per month if she waits until age 66, an increase of almost 50 percent. And, because she has an 85% chance of living past her "break even" age of 76 (the age at which the accumulated benefits of higher monthly payments begin to outweigh the benefits of starting Social Security), she will have received approximately $66,360 more in Social Security benefits by age 88, and $102,144 more by age 94.

Gender, Age & Income

Early Retirement Benefits Age

Monthly Benefit

Normal Retirement Benefits Age

Monthly Benefit

45 Year-Old Female $40,000





50 Year-Old Male $50,000





55 Year-Old Female $75,000





60 Year-Old Male $100,000





62 Year-Old Female $125,000





"More than 70 percent of Americans apply for Social Security benefits as soon as they are eligible. Yet, individuals who take benefits before reaching their full retirement age run the risk of leaving money on the table, and, more importantly, potentially putting them at risk of outliving their assets. They are not only impacting their financial security but the security of their spouse and their dependents," added Jordan.

"What some consumers don’t realize is that, if they waited until age 67 or even age 70, they could potentially receive considerably higher payments. Often, it ‘pays to wait’ even if waiting means that they’ll need to bridge the income gap. Of course, some individuals may need – out of financial hardship – to take Social Security benefits early," added Jordan. "That’s why it’s best to consult with a financial advisor before making any important retirement income decisions since it will greatly affect your ability to enjoy a comfortable and secure retirement."

The MetLife Social Security Decision Tool joins an array of online tools originally created for – and used by – MetLife’s financial services representatives, as a way to help consumers build their own personal safety nets. By offering these new tools online, individuals are much better prepared to have collaborative discussions with their financial services representatives. Since MetLife began piloting the new Social Security Decision Tool on its web site, more than 20,000 individuals have visited the tool’s web page.

About MetLife

Celebrating 140 years, MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions.  Through its domestic and international subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. reaches more than 70 million customers around the world and MetLife is the largest life insurer in the United States (based on life insurance in-force).and leading provider of employee benefits. The MetLife companies offer life insurance, annuities, auto and home insurance, retail banking and other financial services to individuals, as well as group insurance, reinsurance and retirement & savings products and services to corporations and other institutions.  For more information, please visit


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