This Is the $16,122 Social Security Question

Betsy Boehm Bland
7 min readOct 28, 2019
Photo by Huy Phan on Unsplash

This is part 4 of the Twin-Peaks-style saga, Retirement Isn’t All Sunshine and Palm Trees, following part 1, part 2, and part 3.

During our chats with people preparing for or in early retirement, many mentioned that they wouldn’t be able to afford to retire without Social Security supplementing their other savings. They aren’t alone. One in six Americans currently receive Social Security benefits, and the number of elderly recipients is only increasing. By 2031, Americans age 65 and older are projected to nearly double.

While Social Security is only a part of people’s retirement plan, it is an essential part for many retirees. 61% of aged beneficiaries received at least half of their income from Social Security in 2014. One in four rely on Social Security for 90% of their income. No wonder so many people are intrigued by the “$16,122 Social Security bonus”.

But if so many people were interested in learning about Social Security and struggling to manage their whole retirement portfolio — exactly what our Rule Your Retirement and Social Security package targets — why were so many new customers canceling their orders?

A Deeper Look at The Current Experience

We conducted usability testing and analysis of the the Fool’s existing Social Security report, “Money for a Lifetime: 7 Simple Steps to Getting the Most From Social Security”, and found that people struggled to navigate the decision tree and determine which sections applied to their situation.

“How do I work this thing??”

They also couldn’t tell that this was related to their new Rule Your Retirement subscription and how to get to the product site (nor were they enticed to do so). It was clear we had found some great optimization opportunities.

We’re Here to Help

We wanted to run a test that addressed the usability and branding issues, believing it could increase information…

Betsy Boehm Bland

Product Experience Team Lead and Designer | Mission Driven, User-Focused