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2014 Conference

April 9–11, 2014

Intercontinental, Milwaukee, WI

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Time to Retire: Why Americans Claim Benefits Early and How to Encourage Dela

Friday, April 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM–4:30 PM Central Time (US & Canada)
Salon 3
Short Abstract

Most Americans are retiring earlier and living longer, but saving less for retirement. For most, delaying claiming Social Security retirement benefits, the source of the majority of their retirement income, would be a better economic choice. However, currently almost half of Americans claim as soon as possible. We suggest that the claiming decision is a classic intertemporal choice and use a process model, Query Theory, to design and test interventions to encourage delayed claiming. Study 1 confirms that early claiming is the implicit default for many participants. In Studies 2a and 2b, choice architecture representation interventions designed to shift this default produce non-significant delays in preferred claiming age. In Study 3 a process intervention, asking participants to frame the future first, produces significant delays.

First & Corresponding Author

Melissa Knoll,

Add'l Authors In The Order To Be Printed