Roger Green, MSFS,CFP®

You’re getting close to 62, and wondering whether or not you should apply for your Social Security benefits. If you are eligible for benefits, you may begin receiving payments as early as age 62 – but is that a wise decision? At age 62, you would receive only 75% of your benefit amount – a reduction that continues for the remainder of your life.

If you wait until age 66 you will receive 100% of your Social Security benefit. If you can wait until age 70, you will get a 32% boost in your benefit. This can add up to very significant amounts of money you either lost or gained over time, depending on how long you live beyond the date you begin receiving benefits.

Roughly 15 million Americans turn 62 every year. Many baby boomers plan to sign up for their Social Security checks as soon as possible. A new survey found that 45% of those currently 61 years of age will opt to take Social Security at age 62. Boomers cited financial necessity, health and longevity concerns, and a desire to collect as much as possible from the system as their reasons for early claiming. Before you decide, consider some of the following:

Some reasons NOT to take Social Security at age 62 . . .

•You plan on working and will earn in excess of the annual earnings limit ($15,720 for 2015) before you reach full retirement age. 
•You are single, have little savings, and have a longer life expectancy. In this situation, you may want to consider working as long as possible to maximize your benefits. 
•Your spouse is still working and has earned income which may cause a larger portion of your Social Security benefits to be taxed. If your income and tax rate will be lower in a few years, waiting to collect Social Security can draw a larger benefit and more to keep. 
•You have a long life expectancy. In general, the longer your life expectancy, the longer you should wait to begin drawing on Social Security. 
•You are married and your spouse’s benefit is smaller than yours, and/or your spouse is much younger than you. When married, your combined life expectancy will be longer than either of your single life expectancies. Upon your death, your spouse will continue to receive the larger of your Social Security benefit, or their own, but not both. This means if you take Social Security at age 62, and your spouse’s benefit is based upon your benefit, your surviving spouse’s benefit will be significantly reduced over his/her lifetime.

Some reasons to take Social Security at age 62 . . .
•You will not have earned income in excess of the annual earnings limit between age 62 and full retirement age. (If you start receiving Social Security benefits early, the Social Security Administration will withhold a portion of your benefits when your income from work exceeds a certain amount. For 2015, this limit is $15,720. If you are younger than full retirement age during all of 2015 and are receiving Social Security benefits, $1 of your benefits will be deducted for each $3 you earn – about $15,720 for the year.)
•You have health issues and/or a shorter than average life expectancy, and, if married, your spouse’s benefit is larger than your own.
•You are more comfortable having the money in hand, rather than waiting an extra three to five years, even if it means a reduced benefit and fewer dollars paid out over your lifetime. Source: Social Security Administration website

Whatever age you decide you want to start your benefits, apply early. It could take up to 3 months to complete the application and approval process.

Before making this important decision, weigh all the facts carefully and consider your own circumstances. Visit www.socialsecurity.gov for further information, call 1.800.772.1213 to reach the Social Security Administration by phone or visit your local Social Security office for guidance.

If you have other retirement assets or pensions or want to continue working past age 62, you may need the assistance of a financial professional in making these decisions as part of an overall retirement plan. For a complimentary consultation for assistance, please contact our office at 770.931.1414 to schedule an appointment or contact us through our website.

This information is not intended to be tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied upon for the purpose of avoiding any federal or state tax penalties. Please seek tax or legal advice from a professional. 

Roger S. Green is a registered Representative with Cetera Advisors LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, with Green Financial Resources, LLC located at 3700 Crestwood Parkway, Duluth, GA 30096. Neither Green Financial nor Gwinnett Technical College is affiliated with Cetera Advisors LLC. Hear more “Your Green”, Saturdays at 3PM, on WNIV 970 AM or live at http://www.faithtalk970.com. Visit Roger’s website at http://www.rogersgreen.com.