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Social Security: Why Taking Benefits at 62 Is Smarter Than You Think

This article was updated on August 13, 2015.

Most retirees believe it's best to wait as long as possible before applying for Social Security. But is this really the smart thing to do? Surprisingly, the answer is often "no."

It's understandable if you're under this impression, as the size of your monthly benefits does indeed depend on when you begin receiving checks. If you do so at the earliest possible moment -- that is, the month after turning 62 -- then your monthly take will be between 25% and 30% less than had you waited until full retirement at 66.

Furthermore, if you wait until turning 70 then you'll receive delayed retirement credits. This adds 8% a year to your monthly check for as many as 3 years. The net result is that you could end up receiving 32% more each month than your primary insurance amount (what you're entitled to at age 66) and 76% more than if you elected to receive benefits at 62.

But while these numbers are impressive, it's not the end of the analysis. This is because there's a large cost associated with waiting; if you start receiving benefits at 62 as opposed to 70, then you get monthly checks for eight more years. The question, in turn, is whether (and, more specifically, when) the cost of waiting outweighs the benefit of a higher but delayed monthly check.

This is known as a break-even analysis. And while there are calculators for this purpose online, here's the gist of it: If you expect to live past 77, then you should wait until full retirement age to begin collecting benefits, as it's at this point when the gain from waiting overtakes the cumulative cost -- see "A" in the preceding chart.

Moreover, if you realistically see yourself living past 82, then it would also behoove you to wait until you're 70 years old. The rationale is the same; by that point (see "B" in the chart), your cumulative benefits from waiting will add up to $206,000 compared to $204,000 had you elected to receive benefits at 66 and $189,000 had you begun drawing from the system at 62 -- this is assuming a primary insurance amount of $1,000.

But here's the thing that's important to keep in mind: According to the latest data, the average lifespan of an American is 79.8 years old. And for men, it's only 77.4 years compared to 82.2 years for women. Thus, based on age alone, and particularly for males, it's probably not as smart as you might at first think to hold out for larger Social Security checks.

It's also worth pointing out that, according to a recent government report,  "The Social Security benefit formula adjusts monthly payments so that someone living to average life expectancy should receive about the same amount of benefits over their lifetime regardless of which age they claim."

Now, just to be clear, there are a number of additional variables that should factor into one's decision about when to apply for benefits. If you're planning to work between the ages of 62 and 66, for instance, the scale tips in favor of deferment, as wages above a certain threshold will erode your Social Security benefits until you reach full retirement. And the same can be said if you have a spouse or other dependents that are likely to outlive you. The net result would be to extend the life (and thus value) of your cumulative benefits.

Nevertheless, the point here is that if you find yourself in a position to apply for benefits early, rest assured that there's little reason not to.

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  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:32 PM, aza400 wrote:

    I think there is an error in this article??

    "If you do so at the earliest possible moment -- that is, the month after turning 62"

    I'm not sure thats correct. I'm pretty sure you can apply for your benefits in December of the year before you turn 62 and start receiving benefits in January of the year you are going to turn 62.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:38 PM, rodn1eyboy wrote:

    There should be a factor for quality of life. Money obtained while you can enjoy it is worth more than that after you've fallen apart.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:38 PM, stmmmd99 wrote:

    I don't expect to live to be a ripe old age (none of the men in my family do) so it makes sense for me to take it at 62 and retire early. Hell, I might only make it to 67! I might as well enjoy what little time I have.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:42 PM, hyvision wrote:

    One should also consider the time value of money. Receiving $1 at age 62 is worth a whole lot more than receiving $1 at age 70. And while I believe SS is going to be there for today's seniors, one cannot trust this government; i.e. amend the rules to reduce the amount or have a means test. It is not a sure thing to wait until age 70.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:45 PM, yooperintx wrote:

    One comment is misleading. It is true that at birth, the life expectancy for a male is 77.4 and for a female 82.2 years. But at age 65, your remaining life expectancy is higher, about 84 for males and 86 for females. One out of four who reaches 65 will reach 90 and one out of ten will reach 95. This is from the SS web site.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:45 PM, sweaterhead wrote:

    AZA400 -- no, the article is correct. Check on the SS website.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:50 PM, geepaul wrote:

    None of you mention whether it is advisable to take the insurance at 62 if your spouse is working and earning money. That should be addressed since the combined income (married filing jointly) puts the insurance receiver and his spouse in a higher income bracket. Motley fool is who he is. Fool.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:51 PM, gadfly1000 wrote:

    Enough of these taureau droppings!

    Everybody, on average, receives exactly the same lifetime benefits. Some get less for longer, others get more but for less time.

    If you can't afford to live on the smaller monthly amount, not being able to afford your expenses for a longer time is meaningless.

    Maxfield only hints at, instead of saying outright, that if you have a survivor and take benefits early, the survivor's benefits will be permanently reduced as well. Also, if you wait past 62, it DOESN"T MATTER if you die before 66. Social Security will pay your survivor AS IF you died at 66 (it makes the assumption you'd have waited).

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:53 PM, Hulgar1 wrote:

    And the elephant in the room .... if you wait, will the govt. change the rules ? Especially pertinent if you have been playing by their rules and saving on your own.

    I can easily see a scenario in 14 years (when I will be 70) when they decide to then "means test" the good savers. Like Charlie Brown/Lucy and the football. Do you trust your govt. ?

    If I was 100% sure the govt. would keep these rules, I'd be more likely to wait. But, since they already have changed the rules in my life time when they upped my full benefit age to 67, I am inclined to believe they will do it again as budgets get even tighter. 62 for SS is looking better and better.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:54 PM, gadfly1000 wrote:


    You are quite right. Not only that, but the bull about how Social Security is hurting because of longer lifespans is critically relevant to your statement. While it is true that there have been major increases in life expectancy AT BIRTH, the life expectancy AT AGE 65 has increased far less.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:56 PM, gadfly1000 wrote:

    "they upped my full benefit age to 67"

    When that was done in 1983, Social Security really was on the verge of going broke.

    1) They increased the age over a 22 year period, not all at once.

    2) The fund currently as a cushion of over $2 trillion, far different from 1983.

    3) There are easy fixes that wouldn't require ANY decrease in benefits.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 1:57 PM, yooperintx wrote:

    aza400 - Wrong, you can apply shortly before reaching 62 but wont receive benefits until the month after reaching 62.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 2:07 PM, yooperintx wrote:

    Hulgar1 - They already means test in a way. If you have high income, you can be taxed on up to 85% of your benefit. The cut off for "high income" hasn't changed since it was set in 1983, as it was not indexed for inflation, thanks Greenspan and Reagan. High income for that purpose is $25K for an individual and $32K for joint filers. That amount includes all other income and one-half your SS benefit.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 2:17 PM, yooperintx wrote:

    Hulgar1 - There already is a sort of backdoor method of means testing. If you have substantial income other than SS, you can be taxed on up to 85% of your SS benefit. For a single filer, the amount is $25k and for married filing jointly it is $34k. To figure your amount, add all your other income, including non-taxable income, and one-half your SS benefit. At the $25k/$34k amount, you can be taxed on 50% of your SS benefit. It goes up to 85% at $34k/$44k (think those are the correct numbers.)

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 2:19 PM, yooperintx wrote:

    Hulgar1 - Sorry for the second comment, my first one to you seemed to disappear so I rewrote it, then when I posted the second one, both appeared. The amounts in the first post are the correct ones.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 2:42 PM, Rufusmlk wrote:

    The issue is TAKEBACK. Look it up.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 2:50 PM, RatchetOriginal wrote:

    I did this study when my wife turned 62 seven years ago and we started her SS at 62.

    The people who say to wait cannot do math!

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 2:51 PM, jfrancis wrote:

    There's a MAJOR error in the argument in the article: while the life expectancy of men in the U.S, is indeed 77 years, that's AT BIRTH! Once you've reached 65, men can expect to live to 84! (See So you should always delay taking it - unless you need the money now, of course.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 2:59 PM, jasalvatore810 wrote:

    I think one thing overlooked that I definitely considered when deciding: these idiot Republicans who seem to be at war with Social Security. I was not confident they would not do something to gut the law, so I wanted to be sure I was 'grandfathered in' in the event they did something dumb like that.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 3:03 PM, DaleH wrote:

    Did anyone consider that delaying from 62 to 70 also gets you an additional 8 years of pay from your job?

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 3:17 PM, Tuplanner wrote:

    FINALLY, an article that makes sense! I am single and a cancer survivor. If the cancer comes back, and I pass away, no one will receive any of the money I have paid into Social Security. Even if I don't need it, I will put it into savings.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 3:20 PM, billatweca wrote:

    I took it at 62 for 1 reason. I got tired of the ABUSE at work. Plus who would hire a 62 year old? In the long run "I'm doing fine"

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 3:31 PM, jimlewis wrote:

    Two more important reasons to take early Social Security. First, if you have any debts, especially credit card debt, it is better to take your money early and pay off those debts. Second, especially if you are wealthy, it is better to take it now because in the near future there will undoubtedly be adjustments. There will be "means testing" for the wealthy, who may only be able to collect 50% or even less. There will probably be adjustments for middle-class retirees who will receive only 97% or 95% or 90% of what they have due. If you are 62 now, take it---if you wait for 8 years, you will have not been paid during that time, and you may end up earning less at that time than you could earn right now.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 3:43 PM, inparadise wrote:


    If one has assets outside of the income from SS there is no need to continue working. We are retiring at 56, and still keeping an open mind about when to take SS.

    One aspect missing from this article is if you take the SS at 62, leaving your Roth investment to compound instead of spending it, you can do better long term depending on your rate of investment return. If you have the option to wait for the income until 70, you have the option to invest that income between 62 and 70 or perhaps even beyond:

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 3:47 PM, greyhound44 wrote:

    Yooperintx and francis are correct: life expectancy at 65 (69 or 70) extends into the mid 80's according to the SS web site.

    That said, i'll be 69.5 next week; shall have collected $146,573.40 as of 10 June 2014 in social security retirement benefits since age 62.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 3:48 PM, Pharmman wrote:

    At start of 2013 I took early retirement offer from work at 64 and my wife was 62. We also have pension, savings and 401k. My wife and I both started SS Jan 2014. I did math multiple ways and best option was for me to take SS now (65) and wife (63) which is her payment plus spousal benefit. I leave our 401 K's alone to grow at greater than 8%, plus only when husband and spouse are both alive do you get maximum payments; future is not guaranteed so best not to count on it plus there is a 13-14 year period just to break even if you wait.. Plus state I live in (Ia) SS is now not taxed at all and first $12000 of pension not taxed. Later in life 401 K will help to supplement for inflation. Plus I do get the annual COLA. Also most important to survive retirement don't have a mortgage or owe anyone more than your monthly income can handle.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 4:31 PM, yardomd wrote:

    Your benefits will be applied to cost of health care and nursing home. So stay healthy, eat green vegetables, not fried food. Keep active, keep close with your family.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 5:03 PM, Bobcat51 wrote:

    Hello. Here is my take on the 62 retirement age. I got laid off at 58 and no one will hire a person that age in the area where I live unless you are willing to work for minimum wage. I got lucky and found a job with a friend of mine for 2 years but he died of cancer and again there was nothing around so I went self employed and did well until I hit 62 when I found out the difference in taking it at 62 vs 65 was 40.00 per month and even that has been more than made up due to a settlement I was owed from a past employer who skipped with his employees ss money and never paid it to the government. So now at 63 I am making more self employed part time and collecting ss than I did at my last job and I do agree that the most positive thing is I don't have to put up with anyone's crap. If I bid a job and don't like the attitude of the person I just don't take the job. My policy since I first started working at 12 years of age is I will take less money instead of taking crap and stress No job is worth your mental health and you can always survive until you find what you want. My wife is waiting to retire at 65 because her pension will mature and in her case she will receive about 700.00 a month more than at 62. If you have enough skills and connections I say take it at 62 before the ceiling is raised and you don't live long enough to enjoy it. You paid it in and you deserve to get it back. Fortunately my ss check pays all of my bills with about 100.00 left over and if I want something special I just do a remod job or sell some model aircraft. My dad retired at 52 and lived till he was 80 and left several million dollars in his account due to some very smart investing but guess what happened to it? Every cent of it and then some went to keeping my mother in a nursing home for 6 years till she died recently and if the money wasn't there she would still have been able to stay there on her ss check alone. anyways, that's my take on getting ss early-just try to get rid of as much debt as you can before retiring then make up your mind. I will be awaiting your comments on this blurb. Bob..

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 5:25 PM, hapsam wrote:

    All the calculations supporting taking benefits later assume that you have no other source of income. If you retire at 62 and delay taking Social Security until 70 you will draw down other resources during this time. There is a time value of money that always seems to be forgotten in these discussions.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 5:27 PM, westcoastkat wrote:

    I'm taking mine at 62. There would be plenty of money in the kitty if our government stopped giving SS to immigrants who move here and have never paid into the system. Trust me, this is happening!

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 5:46 PM, Granmark wrote:

    It's been mentioned a couple of times but has anyone found an evaluation of taking Social Security at 62 vs. 66 or 70 that DOES take the time value of money into account? Even if I don't "need" Social Security early I'm still losing returns on where ever else I take that money to live on from. It's more than just looking at the break even point for the total cash received in benefits.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 6:23 PM, AllenElliott wrote:

    On this news blog pages I see both sides brought out to wait til 75 and do it at 62

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 6:26 PM, AllenElliott wrote:

    I retired at 63 due to health reasons but everyone has their own situation.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 6:26 PM, nadirahahmed wrote:

    Social Security laws are always changing. I read about a lump sum at age 66. If you get about $2,998 a month in social security then you are eligible for a $151,000 lump sum and a reduced social security monthly check. There is a problem with this idea. If you accept this idea you will be accepting to pay taxes on this lump sum every year if the social security is above $25,000. That is a bad idea. This means that the social security administration will get their money back in taxes.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 6:41 PM, garysund wrote:

    If you are healthy then there is one good reason for some to wait as long as possible to collect social security at least until age 66. If this is your only means of support and the current job you have pays way more than that social security check will be then by all means wait until 66. Let that social security grow so at least it will be closer to what you take home on your current pay check. Also at age 66 even if you want to continue to work (maybe because you love your job) then give yourself a pay increase and start collecting social security along with your regular paycheck. You can earn all you want without any penalty. Now if you are not in the greatest of health and you can survive on just social security then by all means retire and collect at 62. But in some cases if you are lucky enough to have other financial means to live with out working and without collecting social security, why not collect anyway. Take that social security money and just invest it. You can do much better than what you will get by waiting for that larger check down the road. It is different for each person. You just need to sit down and do the math and see what works best for you.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 6:50 PM, olderguy10 wrote:

    This topic is appropriate for me to discuss because I turn 70 in July and I have waited until age 70 to start collecting benefits and i will be collecting the maximum possible benefits of around $3400 monthly.There are a couple of points that people do not discuss when deciding to collect early or wait. First of all one cannot collect at age 62 if they are still earning decent money. I believe the max that someone can earn is around $18K before benefits are reduced. . Collecting at 62 was not an option for me. So now let's look at age 66 when I could have collected and continued to work. i am a professional (CPA) and still making very good money in my late sixties. If I started collecting at age 66, I would have paid a big chunk right back to the government in taxes, so I get a smaller benefit which is further reduced by taxes compared to waiting to age 70. One other point that people don't mention when deciding when to collect is the age of your spouse. My spouse is eight years younger than I am. On her own work history, her benefits will be a lot smaller than mind. Assuming I go first, my wife will step into my shoes and collect my benefits for the rest of her life. If my wife and I were around the same age, I may have started benefits earlier. BTW - My mom lived until age 99, so if I have her genes, it may pay off big time for me to wait. I have not needed the money so my decision to wait was easy. I know it is a lot harder decision if one needs the money earlier. Everyone is different. Consider all the facts.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 6:52 PM, segarolow4 wrote:

    Take it as soon as you can..

    Down Size big time.

    And get the hell out of Dodge!

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 7:10 PM, toomuchgas wrote:

    Regardless of when you take SS it is more or less beer money relative to the expenses you will face for medical, housing, real estate taxes, food, etc. You better have other significant sources of income.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 7:26 PM, vchan2177 wrote:

    If you take SS at 70 and die soon, you lose.

    If you take SS at 70 and live long, you win.

    Hence: lose-win outcome.

    If you take SS at 62 and die soon, you win.

    If you take SS at 62 and live long, you win because you live long. Money isn't everything.

    Hence: win-win outcome.

    Believe it or not many people think this way.

    Of course if you are insecure and money is everything, then taking SS at 62 is a win-lose outcome.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 7:47 PM, rocketman262 wrote:

    I'm 62.5 and I plan to stop working full time at 63 and start on SS at 65.

    In general it's better to hold off but if waiting means using up too much of your savings then I understand why people start collecting as soon as they stop full time work.

    At 65 my wife and I will get about $43,000 a year combined from SS. And I'll take $50,000 a year out of retirement savings for a total income of $93,000 a year.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 7:52 PM, grambyof3 wrote:

    First of all, I took benefits early and now 6 years later find myself taxed at 25% and then with a high Medicare premium and also a high Part D premium which I have to pay whether I'm using it or not per Medicare, (there are no network pharmacies in my area); I find I am now at less than half of what I started out with. All this because my husband is still employed and making to much money which puts us in a higher tax bracket. I'm angry because this was my earned benefit, not his, why is it being taxed again monthly to me and then again at income tax time, I am my own person and should be treated as such. I now know why couples in this position end up legally separating so they can keep their full benefit due them. This is an illegal double taxation in my view. I cannot seem to get an answer from Social Security when I question them about this, nor from Part D provider when I question my need for that coverage. It's no wonder seniors have a hard time making it month to month when this happens--I'm fortunate in that I have a husband still employed. He most likely will have to work until full retirement age or beyond just because of the fear what taxes may be imposed once he does retire.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 7:57 PM, fnurl wrote:

    I took SS at age 62, my wife took it the following year when she turned 62, but I did not retire until age 68. For those 6 years I invested every penny of our SS in mutual funds and stocks and did not spend one penny of it. Up until age 65 I had to relinquish one dollar for every three dollars earned but at the end of 6 years my ROI was much more than if I had waited. Today at age 76, my portfolio has increased to a comfortable amount which I doubt I would have able to accumulate if I had waited to collect SS. My good friend, a widower, decided to wait until he was 65 before applying. He died one month short of his 65th birthday and every penny he had contributed was kept by the US government. HE DID NOT COLLECT A PENNY.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 8:03 PM, RobAllen wrote:

    People need to make their own decision when to

    retire, its not always right to retire at 62, 65, 70

    but its has to be at your own judgement below :

    _ If you have a good income and still healthy then

    why retire early to get smaller salary.

    _ If you do not have a good health then retire early

    & enjoy fishing, the out door before you expired

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 8:39 PM, sporked wrote:

    Dale H...If you have a job with no stress of thats physically taxing, sure you could work. Climbing ladders, working on a rooftop in 100 degree heat or waist high snow is different. The thing is not everyones a politician like you.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 8:43 PM, USAmoron wrote:

    Try math. Age 62 example: get 1000 monthly x 4 years = 48,000

    Wait until 67 even,get more instead @ 400 more.

    Break even by waiting = 48,000 divided by 400 = 120 months or ten years ( without that money until)

    or age 77. Regardless of what you GET between age 67 and 77, the 48,000 is lost until saving it maybe even, until age 77 at 400 per month. COLA adds some yes, but, you can invest that 48,000 in the interim or whatever, but, wait TEN years to get the LOST amount BACK. Duhh. AND they HOPE you DIE before the full age of SS retirement. Got that ??

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 8:45 PM, sporked wrote:

    olderguy10 I hope your making a post at 99 stating how you made out. If not, at least your widow will be a catch!

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 8:53 PM, gloriarosa wrote:

    My birthday is in October and I was 62 in 2013 and received one check on Dec 15.......When we filed our joint income tax we made $40,000.......So because I received one check in 2013 does that mean I lose?? Or is that money figured into my ss income and my check reevaluated?? I retired Sepember of 2013 and will only receive ss pmts in 2014...Does anyone Know??

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 9:01 PM, jerh wrote:

    I did a quick xcel analysis with a full retirement age of 66y8mo (mine) taking into account compounded growth at 1% increments for age 62,66y8mo, and 70 y. This could be used to either time derate the money or to figure in investment growth if you save it all. Simple result for me was a 0% crossover around 79. For each 1% compounded growth add about 22 months to the approximate crossover. At 5% (x1.05 per year) it was a little over 88. I did not take into account the cost of living adjustment each year for inflation which would be larger for the delayed as has been pointed out in other articles as another variable.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 9:51 PM, hwood007 wrote:

    I began taking social security as soon as possible and invested each penny of it in dividend paying stocks. That was `12 years ago and I think the gains I have made plus what I received have made up the difference.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 10:01 PM, paladin111570 wrote:

    95% of people in the world are not wealthy, which is having money and the time to enjoy it. People need to take the social security at 62 so that they can live comfortably and invest or pay off debt or whatever is needed. You only live as long as GOD wants you to live.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 11:04 PM, spydercoendura wrote:

    I am a former school teacher still in the workforce but long removed from the school system. I had the opportunity to start collecting my teacher retirement (at a reduced amount) at 59 1/2. I elected to do so and with the annual COLA from the state my retirement check when I reach 65 will be almost the same amount as if I had waited to start collecting at the full rate. And that's not counting the 5 1/2 years of checks I will have already collected.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 11:11 PM, slopestyle wrote:

    The proponents of delaying look at the additional 8% return. However, they don't focus on the money you don't get for delay. yes you are better for delaying but you have to live into your early 80's before you recover what you gave up. Will you live that long? What shape will you be to enjoy the extra cash? Wouldn't you rather enjoy the extra cash in your younger healthier years?

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 11:23 PM, arkbiz wrote:

    Good try - but the article comes up short. If you have made it to 62 and you wonder what the average life span is for someone your age - it's significantly higher than the article states. 82 for men and 85 for women.

    Personally, I think the criteria of how much you'll earn in aggregate is the wrong way to judge unless you really have good reason to think you'll die early. Be that as it may, half the people will make more if they wait until 70. The other half probably won't feel cheated - they'll be dead. Most importantly, by waiting, you make it less likely that you will outlive your funds.

    Waiting until 70 is hard because cash flow (not savings) is king when you retire. 97% of Americans simply cannot save enough to retire comfortably on just savings. So you need a bridge to see you from retirement to age 70. That is very very hard for many people, though it may be worth spending down some savings to wait until 70. An 8% return - from waiting - likely beats any investment you have over time.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 11:43 PM, sweetbutsavvy wrote:

    well, geepaul, what you say generally wouldn't make sense since most people would have been working until they do retire and more than likely would have been making more while working so the higher income bracket would not apply unless they continue to work and draw at the same time. It is my understanding that one can make in the neighborhood of $15000 without affecting their benefit so in that situation that could have an impact.

  • Report this Comment On May 31, 2014, at 11:56 PM, randydevinney wrote:

    Average age is not what you need to know. If a person has made it to 62, or 66, his likelihood of making it past the average age increases. He has already overcome some of the hazards which lower the average age. I'm sure that life insurance actuaries have a better estimate of how long a 62-year-old male can be expected to live. It would be useful to know that number.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 12:03 AM, bobdurino wrote:

    To live past 75 is my idea of a bad joke. All of my athletic injuries have come home to nest. Both shoulder joints have been replaced - I wrestled,. swam butterfly, amateur body building. My knees are starting to annoy me to no end. And yes I was an existential runner cocking a minimum five miles a day in Adidas hard sole flats; at 210 lbs my battle mantra was low lipids. Now my lipids are up, my knees are shot and any more titanium orthopedic parts and I can double as an armor piercing shell for an Abrams tank.

    I started paying into Social Security at the ripe age of 16. At 62 and counting my social security benefits are double what you quote, at 66 add another $500.00 and at 70 I get golden handcuffs because I will rob the Treasury blind with a monthly check of $3,100 or a thousand more per month over taking benefits at 62. So the calculation is a bit rummy because the assumption is we are all low skilled workers.

    Wrongo boys and girls. When in doubt about anything a politician can touch or declare a moral war against wealthy 60 somethings stealing from Uncle Sam think of yourself first.

    No matter what you do after 62 you enter the geezer class. Geezers are up at 3 AM for free coffee at Denny's for a highly caffeinated geezer day of standing at Schwab's watching their million to billion portfolio. And when they laugh and have to sit down because they get dizzy easily, it ain't medical. It's social. Geezers have a way of laughing all the way to the bank - we know how it works. Just ask a Geezer

    Geezer in General


  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 12:04 AM, randydevinney wrote:

    Factors not shown in the chart:

    What interest and inflation rates were used? Did they take into account the tremendous deficit government spending over the past five years which is certain to impact inflation rates for future years?

    The reasons for taking it while it's still being paid, and enjoying it while you are able, instead of when you are just barely surviving, are intangible.

    What impact will increased government involvement in health care have on life expectancy? Does anyone really think the quality of health care available today will still be available after a few years of ACA?

    Does anyone really think our present form of government spending is sustainable, and that social security and healthcare will still be available to seniors in 20 or 30 years?

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 12:26 AM, birge1 wrote:

    the only sane choice is "take it early." we may not live long enough in good health to enjoy the added $$. plus the criminal politicians will find a way to steal the rest of the funds by then. s.s. is bnkrpt TODAY ! nobody <age 50 will see a dime. you have to save for yourself. if any s.s. does survive, then it's gravy. spread the word to family/friends, have them do the same, have those do the same, etc. don't eat dogfood in retrmnt !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 12:56 AM, dardson wrote:

    My CPA who is no fool said take it early. HIs dad died at 61 and never got a penny. He also said you never know what the hell the SOB's in Washington will do to change the rules. TAKE IT NOW! while you can.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 1:17 AM, kurthugo wrote:

    Another thing to consider--the government is deliberately underreporting inflation to reduce COLA. It is the biggest theft in history that began in early 90s when they changed the way they compute official inflation. The longer you wait the more your payments are reduced by real inflation.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 1:23 AM, duke04 wrote:

    This simple analysis is very misleading. If you're collecting SS then a reasonable assumption is you are not taking that amount of money out of savings hence you're collecting interest on the money you DIDN'T spend. If you assume a simple interest of 3% then the real break even is about 81 years not 77 (62 vs 66). If you have a large nest egg then your return on your money is surely more than 3% simple. for example a simple return of 6% moves the break even point to 91+. If you plan on living past 81 or 91 you're better off waiting till 66. In my case that's a real no brainer. I started at 62 and will have to live well into my 90's for that to be a bad decision. So, do you feel lucky punk, do you?

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 1:32 AM, tkell31 wrote:

    The reality is most people need the money at 62. However lets assume you don't. By the time you hit 90 you will have made about 50K more by waiting until full retirement or roughly $200 a month. Is that reward worth the risk you die before 78?

    Now the bigger question is, if you didnt need the money in the first place, how much interest did you give up by not investing the reduced payments from 62 to 70? Even conservative dividend paying stocks with a 3% return would outpace what is supposedly the smarter decision.

    So whether you need the money or you don't it wold seem like the smart decision is to collect at 62.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 2:58 AM, caljam71 wrote:

    Everything is a gamble. Go long or go short. Since I work for myself and can probably stand the grind for a few more years, I am going to compromise and look at 63-64. My biggest concern with my strategy is the way Obama is spending money like a drunken sailor, radical changes to raise more tax revenue could again change the whole SS program......soon.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 3:22 AM, ssstolt wrote:

    I plan to retire at 63. I calculated the present value of starting SS then versus at 66 and 70 including conservative investment returns, inflation and a long life. Waiting works out somewhat better but if I work it out for less conservative numbers it is not a big difference. Basically I see it as a choice between depending more on SS and less on my 401K by waiting or the opposite by starting early and I prefer depending on my own resources more than an only partially funded system.

    However, when I look back at the 1970s when stagflation tripled the cost of living with little market gain I like the SS COLA a lot more. My compromise plan is to postpone SS as long as investment returns are good then during the next big recession when my stable funds run out I'll start SS.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 7:30 AM, StevenPF1 wrote:

    The article fails to mention investment returns if payments are taken sooner. If I can do without the money from age 62 to age 70, I can take the money at age 62 and invest it. That changes the break even point in favor of taking payments sooner.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 9:32 AM, 9875 wrote:

    but if I retire at 62 and I lose my health insurance through my company I can't get medicare until 65. is that right? if so, what do I do?

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 9:37 AM, SickOfWorkin wrote:

    I retired at 62 3/4 for several reasons (1), I was sick of working (been working since I was eleven - 51 years worth) and wanted to see what I'd missed, and (2), I have SS and a pension plan, too. The math puzzle for us was simple: my SS and pension add up to a little bit more than my final salary at my last job (which after 37 years, I had had enough of it.). But our total income now is more than it was before I retired cuz my wife retired at 62 with her pension and SS, too. We have no debt but the mortgage now, and we'll be avoiding the credit card sinkhole because we REALLY don't like paying pond-scum credit card companies upwards of 15-30% on top of the balance just to get something we "want" now, but may not really need. Now we can stash upwards of 35% of our after-tax income in savings EVERY month!! We actually paid for a $15,000 roof replacement recently with cash from our savings, and we can stash cash easily now because we don't feed the credit card companies 30-50% of our income every month. Is this penny-pinching, or just being stingy creeps? Nope. Neither. All this came about because we went to an auction our then retired friends were having (they were downsizing...not by choice) several years ago and had to comfort them as they stood there and watched all the crap they "wanted to get" over the years go for pennies on the dollar. The tens of thousands of bucks they spent on those "things" they felt compelled to buy with credit cards over the years evaporated before their eyes....and they were STILL making payments to the cards for the stuff!!! They were really bummed-out, to say the least, and kept going on and on about how foolish they had been to buy it all and keep it hanging around the house...for no good reason they could think of other than to just buy stuff to make them feel better. We learned a great lesson from that: do you REALLY need all those things you're buying? Does the living room REALLY need to look like a gift shop filled with crap that needs dusting once a week? Do you REALLY need to redecorate the bathroom and kitchen EVERY year, did I REALLY need to buy that expensive John Deere mower right now? After that experience with them, we came to the mindset that cash is king, and we REALLY like the freedom it offers us. We're not "rich", mind you, we're just hovering a little lower than the middle class line. We've never had a lot to save, and when we did, it always had to go for something unexpected (car repairs, etc). We found out the hard way that credit cards do nothing but suck all the life out of your bank account, and although that pretty collection of knick knacks and brand-spanking new F150 looks great in the driveway, it doesn't mean a thing if you're forking over so much of what should be your expendable-fun money to those heartless credit card companies that there's never any extra bucks left to enjoy life and wander around this great Country of ours in that new vehicle (that new vehicle looks great just sitting in the driveway, huh? But...we can't afford to go anywhere!!). Our advice: pay off those cards and then dump all but one of them, and then if you must, use that single card ONLY if you have the cash to pay it off every month. Better yet, try living without it for a while. You might be surprised what happens. Don't be fooled by my simple story here, though - it's not easy breaking that card-habit. It requires a mind-change, a life-change, and a priority change. It's hard to do, trust us....we've been there. It was DIFFICULT, to say the least!!! We honestly never, ever, thought we could do our roof without getting a 2nd mortgage, but with some very difficult prudence, we did. We didn't have to live on Ramen Noodles diet for 6 months, either. We were actually more than just "fine". And now the roof is paid in full!!! In one swoop! And there's no long-term debt to agonize over every time we want to just pick up and go somewhere. In all seriousness: pay off that credit card debt, retire early, change your mindset, maybe move if you're adventurous enough, and enjoy your "declining years" with some cash in your pocket by doing those things you've been putting off for decades. Empty your billfold of all those plastic cards and break that indentured servant path we all get sucked into!!!! Then don't look back!!

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 10:07 AM, Wannaretire15 wrote:

    If you are taking your SS benefit at age 62, be sure to contact your SS office or online 30 days before you are turning age 62. This is what Uncle Sam told me. Don't wait until you become 62-contact them 30 days before that date to get the ball rolling...

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 10:19 AM, Wannaretire15 wrote:

    SickofWorkin - I like how you think. I agree 100% with you. Less is more. Get rid of stuff you don't need or use, keep credit cards at zero & yes, cash is king! I also just wiped out and closed a HELOC that was dragging me down. CCs are at zero, too, every month. The closer you get to taking your SS benefit - whether it be at age 62 or 66 or 70, keep especially your cc debt at zero (only charge what u can pay off within a month & avoid finance charges). Do the same for your car & home insurance & avoid fees to money grabbing institutions. Change your bad habits. Buy what you need but be careful with purchasing your wants. It helps to simplify things as you get older.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 10:42 AM, Wannaretire15 wrote:

    StevenPF1 - You make a good point. One can take their benefit early & then carefully invest some of it, to offset taking it early. This is partly my plan, to bank half of it for emergency fund & the other half to invest, keeping cc debt at zero every month & eliminating other debt, staying debt free as much as possible.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 11:19 AM, millhunk wrote:

    One thing that was not mentioned in this article, quite an important thing, is healthcare. If you retire prior to 66, you will NOT get Medicare bennies until you're 66. This prevents many Americans who would gladly early retired from doing so until age 66.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 11:21 AM, HoosierNative wrote:

    It all depends on the individual circumstances. I know nothing about the author (Maxfield) except his picture & bio posted. Clearly he does NOT understand economics. Yep, he is the fool. In my case taking at 62 is pure and clean stupid. But who is this 63 year old to debate with a 29 year old.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 12:11 PM, LadyMantle wrote:

    Your benefit is calculated by a rather complicated formula and if you are gainfully employed over your working career and receive yearly COLA adjustments, etc, your SS benefits will rise in accordance with the increase of your yearly income. The financial crisis has kind of put a nix on a lot of incomes in the US over the past 5 or 6 years. Many close to retirement have had their incomes plummet. Waiting until they are FT age would not increase their benefits any more than if they had taken it early due to the loss of wages/income. Taking it early is the only smart thing and perhaps take a part time job if need be. Many are in this position today due to a very slow economy.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 12:17 PM, Lwrence wrote:

    What they do not talk about is all the tax problems you have...If you have ANY other retirement, you will be classified as a "high income" person, and have to pay 80% of the SS benefits back on your taxes. Which is pretty cruel to older people who already paid their dues.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 1:16 PM, SailorKane wrote:

    Lets take the time value of money. Its a particularly easy computation with SS. Lets take only one year and one example--mine. Difference between starting SS at age 65 and age 66 (full retirement). I am currently 64 and trying to make this exact decision. According to SS actuarial tables, my life expectance is 83, my wife's is slightly longer. And yes, this article does have an error, it is not 77 for people who have already reached age 65, its 83. Most important thing for this computation is the cost of money, expressed as an interest rate. What can you confidently make, over a long period of time, with low risk. I'm going to assume 6%, which may be a bit high for some people... You can plug in your own number.

    My wife is already taking SS, but will receive more from spousal benefits once I trigger mine. We would receive 32484/year at age 65. If I waited until age 66, I would receive $141/month more. So my breakeven point is age 84+. Its higher than my life expectancy because of the spousal benefits.. So, how much is that income stream of $141/month worth, at 6%? Its worth 28200 once it starts, less 6% for the one year delay makes it worth 26508. So taking SS early nets me about $6000 more in today's dollars. This does ignor taxes, so if you have other income and have to pay taxes on the 32484, it reduces the benefit, both the monthly increase and the one-time payment--plug your own expected tax rates in to check.

    The crossover with life expectancy is analogous to the financial concept of "payback"--when will the income stream match the dollars in hand for taking SS early. Its a measure of risk. I.e. its risky to assume you live past 84. In this case, again its better to take it early. Its also risky that the government may decide to change SS after the next elections.

    And finally, get the 32484, put it in investments at 6%, don't spend it, and receive 162/month. More than the 141 I'm giving up. If you like a lower interest rate, plug that in as well.

    So, in my case, it looks better to take it early.

    But IMHO the most important elements are twofold: One is that your income must exceed your expenses at ages past 83. In my case, my income includes lots of buffer for "fun", so that criteria is met. Two is that the quality of life is much greater at age 65 than 84. I'm already slowing down, so can't see doing much with the money past age 84. Assuming criteria One is met, getting the money early is better.

    So, IF you have enough income when taking SS early to cover all anticipated expenses for your lifetime even if it goes past 84, and IF you believe 6% is reasonable (or if not, plug in your own number and make your one decision), and IF you believe in minimizing risk both from early death and government rule changes, and IF you think quality of life at an earlier age is important, THEN you will take it early.

    Two quirks of SS law: the spousal benefit cannot start until I file for SS myself. This is a big benefit to us and factors into our computations. Second is that, if you are working, and make "too much money", you "give back" SS payments. Too much is computed by a complicated monthly formula or $1 for every $2 made over 15200 (this number changes annually). In all cases, when you "give back" SS money, it is NOT LOST. It goes to increasing your monthly payment in the future. For example, if you take SS a year early, and work enough to have to give half of it back, its like you triggered SS only 6 months early. The govt sometimes IS fair!?!

    So this article is right for many people, even though it ignors the time value of money and has an error in the life expectancy calculation.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 3:46 PM, LaProfessoressa wrote:

    Although I have read many of these discussions about when to retire, none of them make a point that is very important for women. Ever since Social Security was "reformed" to define the benefit as based on an average of the 35 highest years instead of the original 5 highest years, the level of payments given to women has gone down. This is because the 35 year average will include, for many women, years when they worked less or not at all to fulfill family raising or caretaking responsibilities. All of these years of low or no earnings are pulling down a woman's Social Security average so that she will receive a lower benefit.

    However, if a woman has years or zero or almost no earnings on her earnings record and is able to work during the years from 62 to 70, her final Social Security amount is going to go up in an additional way. Many people who have been working without interruption will not raise their SS too much my working to 70 because they will not affect their average earnings too much. But women with zero earnings in past years who are able to work until 70 will raise their final benefit amount by more than the amounts given above-- for them it will be the amounts given above PLUS the raises in their benefit amount that they will receive each year that they replace a year or zero or of little earnings with a year of full time work.

    So if you have gaps in your earnings record and you will not be able to draw a spouse's benefit, you should figure very carefully whether or not to retire at 62. Of course, if you take your social at 62 your benefit will be raised for each year of additional work, but it will not be raised the same amount as if you had not taken any benefits at all.

    Since no one ever mentions this factor of women's zero or low earning years, I don't know of any private program or website that can help you figure out what kind of benefit you will get by continuing to work past 62. But the SS online system might give you some idea of what the result will be if you work for one year (the year you attain age 62) and then check out the SS site to see how much your benefit has gone up after your 62nd year income tax return is processed.

    Hope this info will be of help to the ladies out there or to gentlemen who, for one reason or another, have zero income years in their 35 year averages.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 4:05 PM, pns123 wrote:

    The age does not have be either 62 or 70. One can start the benefit any time in between. And don't make yourself too crazy. There are enough of these articles out there. The calculation is actuarial. Some might come out a bit ahead , some a few behind. But you can't make much of a mistake.

    Do your own analysis, and take the benefit when it is right for you. And don't look back.

    Otherwise, you are arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 4:23 PM, healthall wrote:

    Something you all should keep in mind!! As comment was made about the Republicans; what about this idiot Democratic law that goes into effect July 1? Everyones income, and YES, this includes savings, checkings, SSI, 401K's, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, to name a few, will be taxed 30%!!! You will immediately lose 30% of what you have saved or coming to cover government overspending, printing of money to try and pay for it , and the thousands upon thousands spent by current President to take his family on NUMEROUS vacations!!! The American dollar is no longer universal, four countries no longer accept and growing!! As a DR., I've taken a lump and invested overseas and in markets that have not died, only slumped and began regrowing! I have more than quadrupled my return and know my family will be safe when this Democratic Law bankrupts millions!! Look into it!!

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 4:26 PM, joyretires wrote:

    I woke up one day after a lifetime of work and asked myself if I could afford to retire .I was 68. I called a financial manager who worked the figures for me and if I collected SS and $500 per month from my retirement, I could and did. I was retired for several months and then the bottoms dropped out. That was in 2008-9. I still managed it by moving to a cheaper state (closer to family members) and scaling down my spending habits. I was also glad to leave my lifetime job as I found out that the older you are, the harder time they give you and the more write ups you get. Things sure change when you get older. Had I known that I could have spared myself so much grief the last 6 years would have added 20 years to my lifespan. I'm disgusted that we are paid monthly instead of every 4 weeks which would be a more accurate distribution of our money. We still use utilities, buy food, gas, medicine etc., that has to be stretched thinner during the long months.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 7:06 PM, rayhiggs wrote:

    There are so many things wrong with this article. As an example, life expectancy of 79.8 is at birth. It's low because many people die at a young age due to illness, accidents and murder. Life expectancy when you get to 62 is just under 82. Taking SS later doesn't factor the requirement to take mandatory amounts from an IRA at 70.5. If you wait to 70 before taking money from an IRA then your tax liability is now compounded by the higher SS payments. Of course you can withdraw from your IRA at 62 for living expenses because you aren't getting SS, but you lose the 5% to 8% growth, which is about the same as the increase in the deferred SS. So basically, for anyone with an IRA it's a wash. For anyone without an IRA that stops working at 62 they need SS to pay the bills.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 8:30 PM, desuhu wrote:

    The means test of $32,000 for a couple filing jointly is ridiculous. $32,000 is not that high of income, yet they will tax us on up to half of our Social Security if we make over that amount. Also, the only thing your spouse will get if you die is $255 death benefit and your Social Security if it's higher than their's. Another fact is the reason a lot of people start drawing it at age 62 is because they lose their jobs, as my husband did and couldn't find another one. No one will hire you after about age 50 or so. Insurance rates are too high on older people. We started taking ours at age 62 and have not regretted it.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 8:36 PM, foolsrushout wrote:

    also one should consider that the amount of soc. sec. benefit depends largely on how much you earn in the final years before collecting. so if your income is diminishing as age 60+ (because of unemployment /underemployment) then you may be better off taking it earlier.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 9:08 PM, EsqBill wrote:

    For the person who wrote that illegal immigrants get social security..get your facts straight. Illegal immigrants do NOT get social security benefits. The issue before Congress years ago was whether to give SS benefits to illegal immigrants who paid SS taxes for years and years. Congress voted not to do so. The result is that illegals pay SS taxes and get no SS benefits for their taxes.

    I f you want to check this out go to "" or any other fact checking site before giving wrong information.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 9:08 PM, MichiganCindy wrote:

    The article is correct. You apply for SS three months BEFORE you turn 62. Then the first full month after you turn 62 is the first month you're eligible. So your first payment arrives the following month (it could be a month and a half past your 62nd birthday!) They pick the payment date by your birthdate. Ours arrives on the 3rd Wednesday. I wish they would make it the same date every month for budgeting: some months it's as early as the 15th, others as late as the 21st. But here's another reason to take it early: if you still have school age-children, you get an extra payment for the spouse taking care of the children until they're 16. And the child gets benefits based on the retiree's records until they graduate high school or turn 19. But only if you take your benefits.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 10:00 PM, doublecheck wrote:

    It's almost always better to take "early" retirement at 62. If I had waited until age 65, I would have had to live to age 82 to get back the +$45,000 I received in the three years before age 65. Who knows if I'll make 82. Do the math for yourself. Find out how much you get at 62 and find out how much you get at 65 (or is it 66 now?). Anyway, if you multiply the difference by 36 months you know how much "you give up." But you'll also know "how much you get" by multiplying the"remaining amount by 36. Whatever that amount is, divide it by the difference between the "62 year amount" and the "65 year amount" and you'll find out how many months it will take to get that back. Believe me, it's not worth the wait.

  • Report this Comment On June 01, 2014, at 10:01 PM, Tralfaz1 wrote:

    I plan to live well over 100... live right, workout, go to church...

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 1:57 AM, Hotstock1 wrote:

    Too bad there weren't additional graphs incorporating (a) the time value of money (generally speaking, lower investment rates encourage delaying SS benefits while higher investment rates encourage taking them early) and (b) spousal SS benefits available at full age (66 or 67) for married people, thus encouragement to delay taking one's own SS benefits until age 70. An assured 8% annual gain from full age to 70 in SS benefits in this low-interest-rate environment is handsome. From an actuarial standpoint, a person at 65 has a life expectancy of 84, a one-in-four chance of living to 90, and a one-in-ten chance of living to 95.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 4:49 AM, nammarine wrote:

    You forgot a few small things.

    1) soon, money will be worthless !

    2) "They" have no intention of letting us live !

    I took it at 62. 75% of something is better than

    100% of nothing !

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 7:02 AM, redmanrt wrote:

    A shrinking bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 8:32 AM, myliu888 wrote:

    I believe that the last 20 years of human life is similar to the first 20 years -

    that being - a person matures / ages progressively much more each year during those periods than a year during the middle period.

    Therefore, a person will be in much better physical shape to enjoy their first 10 years of retirement than the second 10 years.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 9:25 AM, Veronica65 wrote:

    I am 65 and made the decision to collect at 62. I am very glad I did.

    Why 62? I said to my self, collect less for longer. That was the deciding reason.

    Today, I can see more reasons, like value of money now. What will your $$$'s be worth later? ;0)

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 11:01 AM, deadbrokedad wrote:

    I decided to take Early Retirement benefits based on this type of analysis a couple years ago.

    Given my Health issues, My Insurance Actuarial tables and the Amount I would receive at 62 vs 70

    It likely behooved me to take the Benefits Now/Then vs waiting since at best my Life expectancy was between 82 - 83 and the Breakeven point for myself was late 81 to early 82 not factoring in COLA to my SS benefits. Given that I was Out of work and Unable to get past the AGEISM in my Industry it really was a no brainer. Today the wife and I are better off than we were then and we are not being hounded by debt collectors as we are able to maintain all of out accts in a current status.

    btw Black Males Death Rates are extremely skewed as they die earlier than white males. It usually makes very Good sense for them to take the early benefits as most don't make it past the mid 70s at best.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 11:10 AM, adiawyhm wrote:

    Doesn't really matter when I start collecting social security ... their "windfall prevention" rules will keep me from getting hardly anything even though I paid into social security for decades, because as a State of Texas employee (public college secretary) I will be getting a state pension when I retire. Heaven forbid I should get "rich" by getting the social security payments I deserve, while getting a state pension (which will hardly be enough to live on).

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 11:27 AM, ffbj wrote:

    One thing hardly anyone ever says among financial people, they almost all say to wait, is only take it a 62 if you need it. But if you don't need it what about investing it?

    So say you started taking SS in 2009 and put it in the market? Of course market returns have been above average during this bull market, you have to beat 8%, while the market returns, on average around 5%. So maybe you are giving up 3% at most on average. Something to consider.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 12:35 PM, yooperintx wrote:

    healthall - There is no such tax going into effect on Jul 1 or any other date.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 2:49 PM, yooperintx wrote:

    Just to clear up a couple points made by earlier posters.

    Medicare starts at age 65 not 66. While your full retirement age may be 66, Medicare still starts at 65.

    The tax on SS benefits is not 80% or 85%. This is from the SS web site:

    "file a federal tax return as an "individual" and your combined income* is between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.

    more than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.

    file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits

    more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.

    are married and file a separate tax return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits."

    Your combined income is all of your other income plus one-half of your SS benefit. The 50% to 85% mentioned above is added to your other taxable income and taxed at your marginal rate, which could be from 10% to about 39%.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2014, at 5:17 PM, GETRICHSLOW2 wrote:

    Social Insecurity is bankrupt right now. There is no money. A bunch of IOU's from a government that is broke =zero. The system as it stands cannot continue and nobody in power will even touch the subject or they will be thrown out of office by a populace who don't understand reality and who did nothing when the politicians were stealing the money right from under our noses.

    It's gone and it's not coming back. We as a people need to face that fact and start thinking about plan B and get a mindset that will allow someone to change the system to something that works. Or, better yet, do away with it and go back to people actually providing for their own security by saving and investing. There's an interesting idea!!

    Trust nobody. Especially this government. Get every penny you can get as soon as you can get it and enjoy it while you can.

    The days are numbered.

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2014, at 8:22 AM, thenemo1 wrote:

    I ventured a what if question to the person at s/s and they gave me this reply.

    The person from s/s told us look if you work and wait past 62 if you can afford to retire you're crazy.

    Do you know how many people one of the spouses dies young live your life and enjoy it with the simplicity of retirement.

    At least you collect the money while you can still enjoy it.

    later on you many not enjoy it no mater how much extra you;ll get.

    and not fear insolvency by S/S/ or possible lock up with out cost of living increases.

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2014, at 8:28 AM, thenemo1 wrote:

    The nemo1 continued,

    And for most of the past 5 years that's exactly what occurred we got no

    C.O.L.A's cost of living increases.

    Friends that waited were sorry as the businesses treated them like unwanted employees for the fact they wanted to hire younger poorer paid people.

    And we're glad we did take it at 62.

    especially since our employer has gone to part time help straigt down the tubes and almost bankrupt in doing so. The healthinsurance is expensisve but still in effect thankfully.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2014, at 7:16 PM, llh1028 wrote:

    I have a question. My husband died and when I turned 60 I started getting his SS ($399/mo.). When I turn 62 and get my own measly SS, do I still continue to get his SS? Or do I only get my own, which will be around $519?

  • Report this Comment On October 01, 2014, at 9:38 PM, RHO1953 wrote:

    jasalvatore810, the idiot is you. The republicans have NEVER cut SS. You are a fool to listen to the democrat fearmongers on this. The actual truth is that the democrats have attacked your SS repeatedly, raising taxes on your benefits many times, and assaulted your Medicare too! It was the democrats who stole 700 billion from Medicare and put it in the ACA.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2014, at 9:28 PM, AdamGalas wrote:

    Great article John and congrats on having the most shared article at TMF that I've ever seen. Nearly twice the shares of the next highest article and that one had 1.2 million views.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this article wasn't the most viewed article in TMF history.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2014, at 8:01 PM, lpx4052 wrote:

    I will retire this year at 64, but cannot draw Medicare until I'm 65. I see many of you have already retired at 62. What did you do about healthcare?

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2014, at 7:29 PM, fsgjag4654 wrote:

    A point not made here is that if you want to take social security at 62 you have to plan for it. The first step is to find out what you will get at 62 and plan you expenses for that amount. Reduce your expenses while you are still working Plan and budget to get to this goal. Most important is to be debt free and have savings. This takes time and a lot of effort but it can be done. We sold our house and we purchased in a 55 and over community for much less. Yes the house is dated and needs works but we are able to save 2/3 of the expenses we were paying out before . We drive paid for older cars . We have an emergency fund that we do not touch. We both plan on doing some part time work for the first few years after 62 but it will be on our terms. Remember you can make 15,480.00 between 62 and full retirement age. I know some people who have negotiated with their present employers to work part time after 62.We will have less stress . Bottom line if you are willing to give up the fancy house ,car etc and live on less now you can be happy, debt and stress free and enjoy retirement when you are young enough to enjoy it. PS since we started freeing our self of stuff and living simpler we more happy now then we have been in years. Looking forward to 62!!!!!! Oh for the person who asked about health insurance. Making less puts you in better position to get help with Obama care and you only have to worry about health insurance for three years but this too must be put in the plan.

  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2014, at 11:51 AM, jefreyb wrote:

    I think people that are fully retired and have enough assets to wait until 66 or even 70 to collect social security are fiscally foolish not to start collecting the money at the earliest possible time. Again, let me reiterate, fully retired and fiscally sound enough to consider not taking it to 66 or 70. Here is why, lets say you and your spouse's social security payment was $2,000 per month starting at age 62. Why would you possible not take that money and invest it for the next four years until you re 66. IF, you did not make cent on your investment, you would still have $96,000 in your account, by the time you would were 70, over $200,000. This is taking into account you are making ZERO on your investment. If you made 7%, you could almost double this. Think about the days when you were working, how many folks had the ability to invest $2,000 per month? Again, my scenario is perfect world, 62, fully retired, do not need the social security to survive. You would be a bit foolish not to take it at 62 "if" you were financially sound and could invest it each money. The snowball affect could be unbelievable to you and your family.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2015, at 10:04 PM, Energo wrote:

    In my situation, if I take Social Security at age 63, and therefore drawing less from my retirement savings, my break even point is at age 86,assuming the markets cooperate.

    Taking less from your investments mitigates the sequence of portfolio bad returns that might occur early in retirement.

    Sequence-of-returns risk involves the actual order in which investment returns occur. Typically, negative returns earlier in retirement have a more severe impact on your portfolio than negative returns later in retirement. That’s because your portfolio’s value is reduced by both negative market performance and any withdrawals you take to fund your day-to-day expenses. This means that a smaller amount is left behind to experience any potential future growth.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2015, at 5:43 PM, diverjerry wrote:

    What I think is important to consider is that let say at 82, you might not be able to do as much and spend less. Therefore, draw SS at 62 and go mountain climbing, SCUBA diving, hiking, travel etc. By the time you are 82, you may be in a nursing home drooling all over yourself.

    I know almost all advisers look at it from the point of accumulating wealth instead of quality of enjoying life. I just see it different, not trying to offend anyone.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2015, at 8:49 PM, TheOldProfessor wrote:

    I am on dialysis have been for years, I am amazed I even made it to 62, and so I will apply for the benefits as soon as possible. One thing I have learned being in and out of hospitals is that disease hit everyone regardless of age or current health. Just because your fine now doesn't mean that you won't contract a major illness tomorrow. I don't know how many people I have know on dialysis that were perfectly healthy one year and fighting for their life a few months later. Unless you have a great paying job with great benefits retire as soon as you can. That the way I see it. And as many have stated, once you are in your 50's and lose your job forget finding another good paying one with good benefits in this economy. Even 30 year olds can't find good jobs.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2015, at 12:06 PM, TMFDanDzombak wrote:

    Taking Social Security Early to Retire is a Bad Idea

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2015, at 4:49 PM, donno77 wrote:

    This is a very useful thread. In a couple of years intend to take social security at 62. I will be making income then but it will be all passive income from investments, dividends, etc..but not "earned income", so my SS won't be taxed. Most males in my family did not live past age 78 (and some departed much earlier) so I don't see a significant upside to waiting.

    So I intend to invest it and I have averaged about 11% per year for the past 15 years so I am willing to take my chances on making it worth a great deal more than what I would be "losing" by taking it early.

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2015, at 8:51 PM, crawlfish wrote:

    Donno77 you do not pay FICA tax on passive income but it is used to calculate how much income tax you will pay on your social security. I will start my social security in Oct. of this year at age 62. My Dad and grandfathers all passed in their mid fifties to late fifties. I have already outlived them. Also due to claiming rules on spouse benefits our pay back time would be twenty years for me to delay till age 66 since my wife is four years older than me and does not have enough credits to file on her own number.

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John is The Motley Fool's senior banking specialist. If you're interested in banking and/or finance, you should follow him on Twitter.

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