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Key Findings Details

How Family Status and Social Security Claiming Options Shape Optimal Life Cycle Portfolios
Andreas Hubener, Raimond H. Maurer and Olivia S. Mitchell
WP 2013-293

  • We model Social Security claiming behavior in a policy simulation that eliminates survivor benefits.
  • We take into account household asset allocation, life insurance purchases, and work and retirement decisions.
  • We realistically calibrate the model using empirical evidence on time use, demographics and wage rates.
  • We predict and confirm in longitudinal data that Social Security rules induce married women to claim retirement benefits much earlier than single women and married men.
  • We find that eliminating widows’ Social Security benefits would dramatically narrow claiming differences between men and women, while substantially increasing men’s life insurance purchases.