One of the confusing things about planning for retirement is trying to figure out how long it will last. It's as if I was crouched at the start of a race without any idea how long the race will be. If it's going to be short, maybe I should sprint for it and not worry too much about running out of energy. But if it's going to be a marathon I'll want to nurse my resources and watch them carefully so I don't run out too soon. But getting some idea how long the race will be means figuring out my life expectancy.
I can start collecting Social Security Benefits any time from age 62 to 70. The earlier I take them, the less my benefit will be, so there is some strategy to deciding when to pull the trigger. I want to figure out the ideal time to do it, and I'm also curious how much money I would have had to save up to provide the same stream of income that Social Security will provide. So I did a little calculating to see how much difference it makes.