Social Security Choices

About Us

Our firm is dedicated to helping clients answer the following important question: "What is the best age to claim my Social Security benefits?" Answering this question correctly is very important because many thousands of dollars are at stake. Indeed, the evidence suggests that every year a majority of new Social Security claimants are making choices that leave those thousands of dollars on the table.

When two of the founding partners approached age 62, they started looking around for advice on what was the best age to claim their Social Security benefits. To their surprise they found very little useful information. What they did find was so general in nature that it provided little guidance as to the best strategy for maximizing their Social Security benefits.

To illustrate the point made above, consider what one Social Security Administration publication has to say on the matter:

At Social Security, we're often asked, "What is the best age to start receiving retirement benefits?" The answer is that there is no one "best age" for everyone and, ultimately, it is your choice. You should make an informed decision about when to apply for benefits based on your individual and family circumstances.

We did not find such advice very helpful.

In response to this information vacuum, we created specialized software that allows us to offer you detailed quantitative information about the financial advantages or disadvantages of claiming your Social Security benefits at various ages. What is more, the information we provide you takes into account your specific circumstances. Unlike the "one-size-fits-all" financial advice columns, our analyses and reports are customized for each client.

This firm was founded by a small group of economists. It is natural that economists would be attracted to the problem of finding the "optimal" age for claiming Social Security benefits. After all, economics is, in part, the study of how individuals strive to find optimal outcomes given various constraints they face in life.

The Partners at Social Security Choices

William Dowd

William N. Dowd has an undergraduate degree in economics and international relations from the University of Delaware. Mr. Dowd was a Eugene DuPont scholar and graduated summa cum laude in 2009.

Jeffrey Miller

Jeffrey B. Miller earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 and taught at the University of Delaware. He worked at Social Security after graduating from college. Dr. Miller has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed economics journals.

Russell Settle

Russell F. Settle earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1974 and taught at the University of Delaware. Dr. Settle has published numerous peer-reviewed economics papers in public sector economics, an area which encompasses Social Security. He has been a Social Security beneficiary since 2009.

Ellis Wilson

Ellis H. Wilson has an undergraduate degree in computer science from La Salle University. Mr. Wilson graduated in 2009 and is currently pursuing a doctorate in computer science from The Pennsylvania State University.