The age at which you claim Social Security will permanently affect your monthly payments throughout retirement. It's wise, then, to choose wisely when deciding at what age to file.
Many experts recommend waiting as long as possible to file for benefits, as that will result in larger checks. Claim as early as possible at age 62, and your payments will be reduced by up to 30%. If you wait until age 70, you'll receive your full benefit amount plus up to 24% extra each month for the rest of your life.
However, delaying benefits isn't right in every situation. And there's one good reason to consider claiming Social Security at 62, even if you'll receive smaller checks each month.
A great reason to claim Social Security at 62
When you're determining at what age to claim Social Security, finances should play a part in your decision. But there are other factors to consider, too. And one reason to consider claiming early is that you might regret it if you don't.
Life can be unpredictable, and you never know what curveballs it might throw at you. Even if you're in peak physical condition and expect to live a long and healthy life, unexpected events could throw a wrench in your plans.
If you delay benefits but then your health takes a turn for the worse, for example, you might regret waiting so long. This is especially true if you plan to enjoy an active retirement. If you delay benefits, but then only have a few years to enjoy retirement before your health declines, you may have been better off claiming earlier.
A hidden perk of claiming early
Another advantage of claiming at 62 is that you have the opportunity to change your mind. You get one chance to reverse your decision after you claim and withdraw your application. After repaying the benefits you've already received, you can then file at a later date.
If you can't afford to repay the amount you've already received, you could also suspend your benefits. With this option, you'll continue collecting Social Security until you reach your full retirement age. At that point, you can suspend benefits until age 70, at which point you'll receive larger payments each month.
While it's still important to choose carefully when deciding at what age to claim, these options can give you more flexibility when you claim early. If you file for benefits at 70 and regret it, you can't go back in time and change your mind. But if you claim early and have regrets later, you may not be stuck with your decision.
Is claiming early right for you?
The age at which you claim is highly dependent on your unique situation, so the right choice for someone else may not be the best move for you. Ultimately, your decision will depend on your preferences.
If maximizing your monthly income is your top priority, for example, then delaying benefits might be the best move. On the other hand, if you're willing to survive on less each month and retire sooner, filing early could be the way to go.
There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing when to claim Social Security. But by making this decision carefully, you can ensure you're doing everything possible to enjoy retirement to the fullest.