Do you know how old you have to be to get your regular social security benefit? Chances are good that you’re not doing it – and you might expect to be able to get it at a much younger age than you actually can.
In fact, one recently Nation-wide study revealed that each age group expected to be able to claim their full retirement benefit well in advance before it would actually be available. And a demographic group was the most off-base when it comes to estimating when benefits can begin.
Here is when Americans think they can claim their full social security benefits
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According to Nationwide, the average age when Americans of all ages think they can claim their standard social security benefits is 61 years old. But some groups expect to be able to get the full benefit at a much younger age than others. Here is when each demographic group believes that full entitlement to social security arises:
- Baby boomers believe retirees will be eligible for their full benefit at age 64.
- Gen X expects retirees to get it by 59.
- Millennials think they can get their full Social Security benefit by age 52.
While baby boomers are closest to being accurate, the reality is that every single one of these guesses is incorrect. And in fact, both Gen X and millennials are so off-base with their estimates that they have actually expected seniors to get their full benefit at a time before anyone Social security pension income is actually available.
Millennials have the most inaccurate guess as they have underestimated how old they must be by more than a decade.
Here’s the reality of when social security services will become available
So if everyone is wrong about the age at which they can get their first social security check, what is so correct?
It depends on when you were born. While full retirement age (OFF) used to be 65 for each senior, retirees now have to wait between 66 and four months and 67 years to receive a standard benefit that is not reduced by early sanctions.
Pensioners can of course receive unemployment benefits before their full retirement age. But they can not start them as young as Gen X and millennials expect. Pension benefits will not be available until the age of 62 at the earliest. And at that age, a monthly check would be significantly less than the payment seniors would receive at their full retirement age. In fact, if your FRA is 67, claiming benefits at 62 will result in a 30% reduction in monthly income.
There are serious consequences to underestimating your FRA
Unfortunately, it can be a costly mistake to underestimate when a standard social security benefit becomes available.
The standard benefit that pensioners receive is based on a percentage of the average salary earned during their career, but the percentage is not huge, as pension benefits are only intended to replace about 40% of early retirement income.
Even the standard benefit is far from enough to live on. And anticipating that it will be available so early can lead to a huge reduction that will make you struggle financially. Anticipating social security that may be required at a young age can also give you problems if you are hoping to retire at that time and it turns out that you are years away from getting any benefits at all.
You do not want to guess your full retirement age incorrectly and end up relying on social security income that does not come, or find yourself not making the most strategic choice about the best age to start your checks.
So be sure to learn reaches your full retirement age is as well as how your age when you start your checks affects the income you receive each month. Only by understanding these facts can you make the right choices about a crucial source of pension funds.
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