33 minutes | Nov 11, 2021

Pandemic math: Retiring without Social Security

The Americans who are retiring — but delaying claiming Social Security benefits. Plus, the next installment in our Teens in America series: a story about students taking on the job of educating their peers about race.

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For better-off Americans, the pandemic economy created some of the strongest incentives to retire in modern history, with generous federal stimulus, incredible market gains, skyrocketing home values and health concerns drawing many Americans into early retirement.

The surprising twist? Many of these retirees also opted to put off claiming Social Security benefits, an exclusive Washington Post analysis shows. By delaying their benefits, these retirees can expect to collect higher monthly checks in the future, as economics reporter Andrew Van Dam explains.

Later in the show, we continue our Teens in America series by hearing from 18-year-old Zoë Jenkins. Though she was a high-achieving student, her experience at school in Kentucky was clouded by racist incidents — plus, she wasn’t really getting an education on race in her classrooms. So she decided to take matters into her own hands, and created a diversity, equity and inclusion curriculum for Gen Z, by Gen Z.

“There are issues in the world that I feel like I can address,” Zoë said. “I feel like I should be doing that. And I think more teenagers feel like we have to do something. So many things are coming to a kind of a tipping point.”

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