The best reason to take out Social Security long before the age of 70 | Smart Change: Personal Finance
(Robin Hartell, CFP®)
If you’re approaching retirement age, you may struggle to make an important decision: Should you take a reduced Social Security benefit as early as age 62, wait until full retirement age, or wait to get maximum benefit at age 70? Waiting until you turn 70 gives you a 77% higher monthly check than starting at 62.
The decision can seem like a satisfying computation. If you can work out your odds of dying at a relatively young age versus living into your 90s, you can maximize your life benefits. But the focus on a lifetime benefit ignores the reality many older adults face: Older Americans often can’t worry about how much Social Security they’ll have for their lifetime because they need these checks to survive now.
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The starkly obvious reason for taking Social Security before age 70
Reason #1 to get Social Security before you turn 70: You need the money long before you turn 70.
In an ideal world, the timing of Social Security benefits wouldn’t be a critical decision. Everyone has plentiful retirement savings, and these monthly checks will make your golden years even sweeter. But the truth is that about half of adults in the United States over the age of 65 rely on Social Security for at least 50% of their income. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, nearly 40% of seniors would have an income below the poverty level without Social Security.
Even when you have retirement savings, things don’t always go as planned. Older people are often forced into early retirement for a number of reasons: medical issues can make finding work difficult, and even healthy seniors may need to take time off work to care for an ailing spouse. Older Americans are particularly vulnerable to layoffs, and often face age discrimination when looking for new work.
Waiting as long as possible to collect Social Security benefits may make sense in a number of circumstances. But if you’re struggling to pay for housing, health care, utilities, or groceries, getting Social Security well before age 70 is a no-brainer.
What if you don’t need the money?
Even if you have the money to cover your basic expenses, starting benefits before you turn 70 can be a good move. For example, you don’t want to withdraw investments in a bear market unless you have no other choice. Social Security can help fill the gap so your investments have time to recover.
Sometimes wanting money sooner rather than later is as good a reason as any. Perhaps getting benefits in your 60s will allow you to travel and spend more time with family — things you might not want to put off until your 70s.
What is the appropriate age to collect Social Security?
Holding on to the largest possible benefit from Social Security is a luxury that many Americans do not have. If you don’t need the money right away, then it makes sense to think about your life benefits. Usually, you’ll want to hold out longer if you’re healthy, especially if you’re worried about running out of money. Starting benefits early is often a good move when you have major health concerns.
If you’re younger, it’s imperative that you set aside as much as possible for retirement savings. Many people don’t have a choice when they start getting Social Security benefits because they need the money ASAP. But the bigger your egg, the more flexibility you’ll have when it comes to whether you’ll take Social Security sooner or later.
The $18,984 Social Security bonus is totally overlooked by most retirees
If you’re like most Americans, you’re behind on retirement savings for a few years (or more). But a few little-known “Social Security secrets” can help ensure a higher retirement income. For example: One easy trick can pay you up to $18,984 extra…every year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we believe you can retire with confidence with the peace of mind we all seek. Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.
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