Despite a growing body of research suggesting that most retirees would benefit by delaying the onset of Social Security payments, the majority who are eligible still elect to begin receiving them as early as possible. In no small part, this appears to be attributable to a "take the money and run" mentality from retirees, who simply don't see the value of delaying as being worth the risk of foregoing benefits. And without a doubt, there is a material risk that the retiree will not live to the so-called "breakeven point" where the delay in benefits is worthwhile.
However, what most retirees fail to recognize is that while there is a risk to delaying benefits and never fully recovering them, the upside for living past the breakeven point isn't just that the money is made back; it's that the retiree can make exponentially more. And in fact, these asymmetric results - where the retiree only risks a little by delaying, but stands to gain far more in the long run - are further magnified in situations where the client lives dramatically past life expectancy, experiences high inflation, and/or gets unfavorable portfolio returns - which are, in fact, three of the greatest risks to almost every retiree.
As a result, the reality is that delaying Social Security benefits may actually be one of the best triple-hedges available to any retiree - simultaneously protecting against poor returns, high inflation, and longevity!