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Personal Finance

Social Security: 4 Filing Pitfalls

Don't overweight break-even analyses, trap yourself with early claiming, or fail to strategize with your spouse, says retirement expert Phil Moeller.

Social Security claiming strategies can be devilishly complicated. Morningstar director of personal finance Christine Benz recently interviewed Phil Moeller about some of the frequent mistakes that investors make in Social Security claiming. Moeller is the co-author of a new book about Social Security called Get What's Yours.

Christine Benz: You hear from individuals grappling with questions about Social Security claiming. Let's cycle through some of the key pitfalls that you have observed. One is relying on a break-even analysis to guide decision-making--in other words, thinking about claiming early and investing Social Security proceeds. You say that individuals should instead wait to claim and think about Social Security as an insurance policy.

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