The Early Bird Might Not Get the Best Worm
90% of Americans begin collecting their Social Security retirement benefits at or before their full retirement age. About 97% begin to collect before age 70. Most begin at age 62 as indicated in the illustration below.
The choices that we make are permanent. The “early” choice = permanent benefit reduction. Choosing to delay = permanent benefit increase. For some, the decision to begin early could be driven by poor health, loss of a job, concerns about the long term viability of Social Security, etc. I expect, however, that many choose to collect early without carefully considering the longer-term impact.
Individual circumstances should determine the most favorable age and amount for filing purposes. The need for Social Security income should be considered with all potential income sources, living expenses, taxation, life expectancies, etc. There might not be a “right age” to begin, but I question why 90% of us decide to collect before full retirement age.
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