If you’re eager to claim Social Security retirement benefits, you’re probably already aware that the age limit for receiving payments is 62.
Unfortunately, many financial experts advise against starting payments at 62 because it reduces your standard benefit and leaves you with significantly less money each month than if you waited longer. If you’re counting down the days until you’re eligible for benefits, the suggestion to delay can be discouraging.
However, the good news is that you are not required to follow this advice. In fact, there are three major reasons why claiming your benefits at the age of 62 may be the best financial decision you ever make. Here’s a list of them.
1. You do not have to be concerned about outliving your life expectancy.
According to Social Security regulations, claiming benefits early results in a lower monthly check. Your payment increases by one year for every year you wait until you reach the age of 70. The reason for this is straightforward: The goal is to try to equalize the amount of money received by each retiree over their lifetime, regardless of when benefits are claimed.
Early claimants receive more checks because they begin them earlier, but each check is for a lower amount. Those who wait, on the other hand, miss out on months or years of payments. Despite the fact that they receive fewer total checks, each one is for a larger amount.
The system was created using actuaries’ projections of average life expectancies. However, many people either die sooner or live longer than expected. Those who live longer lives are better off deferring Social Security benefits. If they do, they will receive more checks than expected based on their life expectancy. With larger checks arriving for a longer period of time than anticipated, they end up not only making up for earlier payments missed, but also receiving extra money over time.
Those who die at a younger age than expected, on the other hand, will have more lifetime Social Security income if they do not delay filing for benefits. If they had waited, they would not have received enough large checks in the future to compensate for the lost income.
If you don’t want to worry about outliving your life expectancy but want to start receiving payments right away, claiming at 62 is the way to go.
2. Filing at the age of 62 may allow you to retire sooner.
If you’ve been hoping to retire at a young age and enjoy life, you may require Social Security payments to do so. It’s difficult to build up a large enough investment account to fully support yourself without Social Security benefits, especially if you intend to leave the workforce sooner than most people do because you’ll have less time to save.
If your nest egg is insufficient to support you but you’re ready to retire, you may decide that filing for Social Security at 62 is worth it to supplement your savings and allow you to retire, even if it means receiving a lower lifetime benefit.
3. An early claim may be able to unlock spousal benefits.
Finally, if your spouse wishes to claim Social Security spousal benefits based on your work history, you must first begin receiving your own retirement benefits.
Spousal benefits are equal to up to 50% of the standard benefit of the person whose work record is used to calculate these benefits. If you earn more than your partner, your spousal benefits may be greater than their retirement benefits. If your partner did not work long enough to qualify for Social Security, spousal benefits may be the only income they receive from the Social Security Administration.
You should now consider the fact that claiming Social Security early reduces the survivor benefits your widow would receive if you died first. However, you may decide that it is worthwhile to reduce the benefit available after your death in order to make spousal benefits available as soon as possible.
To decide what’s best for you, you’ll need to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of starting Social Security at age 62. However, as you can see, there are several reasons why starting benefits at the youngest available age may be a good choice in the end.