Put Off Claiming Social Security

Here is how to get your retirement plan back on track in 2009


You can sign up for Social Security beginning at 62. But waiting until 70 to claim your due will produce bigger payouts if you're in good health and expect to live a long time. Your Social Security benefit increases by 7 percent until your full retirement age and by 8 percent afterwards, says Laurence Kotlikoff, a Boston University economics professor and coauthor of Spend 'Til the End: The Revolutionary Guide to Raising Your Living Standard—Today and When You Retire. That's a far better return than most people are getting in the stock market right now. "You can potentially spend more now because you will have this higher income coming in when you are older," Kotlikoff says.

More New Year's resolutions for retirement:

Delay retirement

Get your 401(k) match

Avoid early withdrawals

Scrutinize 401(k) fees

Determine your risk tolerance

Rebalance your portfolio

Evaluate your target-date fund

Pay off your mortgage

Get a pension


Bump up your contributions

More money-related New Year’s resolutions