If you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age for Social Security is 67. In other words, you'd need to wait until reaching that age to claim your Social Security check without seeing your standard benefit reduced by early-filing penalties.
Unfortunately, if you're planning to start your checks at your full retirement age to score a more generous monthly payment, there's a very real chance this won't pan out for you. Here's the big reason you may have to rethink things if you've set 67 as a target date to begin Social Security payments.
Planning to claim benefits at 67 may not work out for one simple reason
There's one huge reason you may have to rethink your plans to claim Social Security at 67: You may need to start your checks before reaching this age.
See, many people want to work into their late 60s or even into their early 70s. Often, this desire is driven by financial concerns. If you think you'll have too little saved to support yourself, working until 67 or beyond can help you boost Social Security, give you more time to invest for the future, and reduce the time you must rely on savings.
The only problem is that there's a big gap between when people want to retire and when they actually end up leaving the workforce. In fact, data from Employee Benefit Research Institute reveals the median retirement age among current retirees is 62. This is despite the median projected age of retirement among current workers being 65, with many younger workers anticipating an even later retirement date.
This research suggests a lot of people must stop working before they had hoped to do so. And if you're one of the many who must leave work well before age 67, chances are very good that you're going to have to claim Social Security benefits as soon as you stop getting paychecks since you'll likely rely on this money to make ends meet.
Be prepared for an early Social Security claim even if you hope for a later one
Sadly, while you may have the best of intentions with planning to claim Social Security at 67, you could find yourself in a tough situation if this plan doesn't come to fruition.
If you develop a medical issue, have family demands, or can't find a job that suits you as a senior, you may have to claim your benefits earlier than expected and, thus, ahead of your full retirement age.
You don't want to be caught unprepared if this occurs, so it's best to plan for retirement with the assumption that you'll have to leave work early and get a reduced Social Security benefit as a result of an early claim. If you anticipate this likely outcome, you can save enough to supplement your benefits and support yourself for the whole of your retirement, even if it happens earlier than planned.