Seniors have plenty of choices when it comes to requiring social security. But certain ages are more popular to review than others. Here are three archival ages you might be considering – and why each one has its pros and cons.
1. Age 62
Age 62 is the earliest time you can apply Social Security. The benefit of going this route? Get your money faster. Disadvantages? Lock down a lower monthly benefit for life.
The monthly benefit to which you are entitled as a pensioner is based on your 35 highest paid years’ salary. But you do not get the full benefit until you reach full retirement ageor OFF, which falls between 66 and 67 years, depending on the year you were born.
If you apply for social security at the age of 62, you reduce your monthly benefit by 25% to 30%, depending on your FRA. And no matter how nice it may be to get your money early, it’s a hit you might not be able to afford.
2. Age 65
Age 65 is when Medicare eligibility starts. Because seniors commonly sign up for Medicare at the time, some also choose to sign up for Social Security.
If you claim your benefits at the age of 65, you will definitely look at a reduction. However, this reduction will not be as severe as the hit you will take to apply for benefits at the age of 62.
In addition, once you start collecting Social Security, you can have your Medicare Part B premiums deducted directly from your benefits. It saves you having to manually make the monthly payments (though) is possible to create an automatic payment from your bank account if you are not on social security yet).
Technically, you can apply for Social Security at any age when you are 62. But 70 is generally considered to be the latest age to sign up for benefits because there is no financial incentive to delay your application beyond this point.
For every year you endure requiring social security in addition to OFF, your benefits grow by 8%. File at 70 and you will look at a 24% to 32% increase to that income stream.
It is clear that a higher social security benefit is a good thing to lock in for life. But on the other hand, it may mean that you have to work longer when you are ready to retire, waiting until the age of 70 to apply for social security. Additionally, you potentially run the risk of passing away at a relatively young age, leaving you in a situation where you are not collecting as much lifetime income from social security as you would have done by reporting earlier.
What is the right call?
Let’s be clear – you do not have to apply for social security at any of the above ages. You can choose to sign up for benefits with your exact FRA. Or you can delay your application a year after that time to give your benefits a little boost without having to wait too long to claim them.
There are pros and cons to signing up at any given age you might land on. The best thing you can do, therefore, is to review these pros and cons and hope that they will lead you to the right choice.