What's the "Right" Age to Start Social Security?

When getting social security retirement benefits, you have three alternatives to choose from. First, you can opt for early retirement and get your benefits at the age of 62. Second, you can wait for the full retirement age of 66. Or third, you can choose late retirement at age 70. Before you make up your mind, there are a number of factors that you have to consider. These include your health condition, civil status, additional means of income, and how you plan to spend your retirement.

Getting Social Security Retirement Benefits Early

The option of getting retirement benefits at age 62 is ideal for people who have no other means of income. It is worth noting that when you decide to start your social security early, you will receive benefits that are lower than what a full retiree gets. However, it is a good idea to get early retirement if you have serious or chronic health problems. Even if the amount of money you will be getting is about 20 to 30 percent lower than what normal age retirees get, the early retirement option is the best choice if you think that your life expectancy has been significantly cut short because of your ailments. This option is also ideal if the income level earned by your spouse is higher than yours because it would be more logical if your spouse will be the one to wait for higher benefits given at full or late retirement.

Securing Social Security Retirement Benefits at Normal Retirement Age

The Social Security benefits that you receive if you wait for your full retirement age will be substantially higher than if you decide to retire early. So if you have other means of income and you are not strapped for cash, it would be a good idea to just wait for normal retirement. Doing so, will not only allow you to get more benefits, but it can even let you afford to retire comfortably in top retirement destinations such as Spain, Mexico, the Philippines and Australia.

Based on the figures from the National Center for Health Statistics, the average life expectancy is 75 years for men and 81 years for women. With that in mind, if you earn more income than your spouse, it would be more beneficial for you and your spouse to wait for your full retirement age even if you do not think that you can reach the average life expectancy. This will ensure that your spouse will get much higher benefits than if you retire early.

Why It Pays to Wait for Late Retirement

For people who have other means of income, waiting for and getting their social security retirement benefits at the age of 70 is the best option. If you can wait, you will be enjoying benefits that are 5.5 to 8 percent higher than those enjoyed by normal or full retirees. If you have a significantly younger and healthier spouse and you want to make sure that your loved one enjoys higher benefits, then you should consider waiting until you are 70.


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