You’re entitled to your full monthly Social Security benefit based on your earnings history when you hit your full retirement age (“FRA”) or you can take Social Security at 62.
Your FRA is either 66, 67, or somewhere in between, depending on when you were born. However, you can enroll in Social Security early and take Social Security at 62.
However, for each month you claim benefits ahead of FRA, it reduces the amount for the rest of your life.
Motley Fool’s recent article entitled “3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Benefits Early” says it may pay to enroll early, if one of these situations applies to you.
- You need cash ASAP. It’s not uncommon for seniors to lose their jobs and have a hard time securing employment again. Others are forced to stop working due to health issues (either theirs or that of a family member).
If you require money immediately, then you might not have the option of weighing whether claiming Social Security early is a good idea. You’ll just have to go ahead to get by.
It’s better to claim your benefits early at a lower rate, than adding costly debt to survive.
- Your health is a concern. Social Security is supposed to pay you the same total lifetime benefit. As a result, filing early will give you less money each month, but more years of benefits. This, in effect, simply means stretching that total payout for a longer time period. If you delay, it will have the opposite effect. You get a bigger monthly benefit but over fewer years.
This formula is designed so you break even, if you live an average lifespan. However, if your health isn’t good, and you don’t expect to live all that long, then filing for benefits early could be the right move. This could ensure that Social Security ultimately pays you the largest amount of money.
- You want to have fun in retirement, while you’re younger. Filing for benefits before your FRA may let you really enjoy travel and other experiences, while your health permits. However, if you don’t have a lot of retirement savings, you may need to wait on filing for benefits to avoid financial difficulties later on. However, with a good-size nest egg, it pays to claim your money when it will do you the most good.
Take the time to consider your options for claiming your benefits. This will help you to avoid regretting your choice. Consult with a financial advisor with expertise and experience in retirement planning.
Reference: Motley Fool (Oct. 6, 2020) “3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Benefits Early”
Suggested Key Terms: Elder Law Attorney, Social Security, Elder Care, Financial Planning