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3 Great Reasons to Take Social Security Benefits at 62

By Maurie Backman - Feb 8, 2021 at 6:18AM

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You'll slash your benefits if you claim them at 62, but here's why filing at that age pays nonetheless.

They say patience is a virtue, and when it comes to Social Security, many seniors don't have it. Age 62 is the most popular age to sign up for benefits, even though filing then also slashes benefits for life.

Seniors are entitled to their full monthly Social Security benefit based on their earnings history upon reaching full retirement age, which spans from age 66 to 67, depending on year of birth. Recipients can sign up to start getting benefits as early as age 62, but in doing so, they'll shrink their monthly benefit substantially.

Given the number of seniors who are behind on retirement savings, that's a hit many can't afford to take. But despite that, here are a few good reasons to file for benefits at 62 yourself.

Loose pile of Social Security cards

Image source: Getty Images.

1. You can't stand your job and it's harming your health

Some people love what they do for a living and push off retirement just so they can keep at it. But if you're in the opposite boat -- you despise your boss, your work is a drag, and the pressure involved is bad for your health -- then there comes a point when you can only push yourself to stay in a miserable situation for so long. Filing for Social Security at 62 could give you the freedom to live without that paycheck -- and preserve your mental and physical health in the process.

2. You want to start your own business

Many seniors make the decision to open a business in retirement. If that's a goal of yours, filing for Social Security early could also help you get started early. And if your venture proves successful enough, the revenue it brings in could more than compensate for a lower monthly benefit.

3. You're not a gambler

Filing for Social Security at 62 is guaranteed to shrink your benefits -- but it's also guaranteed to put that money in your pocket sooner. If you don't wind up living a very long life, you could easily come away with a higher lifetime benefit from Social Security by virtue of claiming benefits at 62. And while there's no way to predict your own lifespan, collecting benefits earlier in life could give you some peace of mind that you took advantage of Social Security while you could.

Let's be clear -- claiming Social Security at 62 isn't the right move for everyone. If your health is outstanding and you have a family history of longevity, you may be better off filing for benefits at full retirement age or even beyond (you can delay your benefits past that point and boost them in the process). But if any of the above scenarios resonates with you, then it could pay to jump on Social Security as soon as you can. As long as you understand the financial repercussions involved and take the time to think things through, filing for benefits at 62 could end up being one of the best decisions you'll ever make.

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