Age 62 is the earliest you can sign up for Social Security. It’s also been a very popular age to file for benefits.
But 62 is not the only age you can claim benefits at. In fact, you can file for benefits all the way up to the age of 70. You can even, technically speaking, sign up for Social Security after age 70, though there’s no financial reason to delay your claim beyond that point.
If you’re not sure whether age 62 is the right age for you to sign up for benefits, it’s important that you understand the pros and cons. Here’s a quick summary of the ways you might win — or lose out — by claiming Social Security at 62.
Pro No. 1: You’ll get your money sooner
People are also reading…
You’re entitled to your full monthly Social Security benefit based on your earnings history once you reach full retirement age, or FRA. FRA kicks in at 66, 67, or 66 and a specific number of months. It all depends on your exact year of birth.
Meanwhile, the difference in your health and energy level between age 62 and age 67 could be substantial. And so if you file for Social Security at 62, you’ll get to enjoy those benefits at a time when they might allow you to fulfill more of your lifelong goals, whether it’s embarking on a month-long backpacking trip or touring national parks in an RV.
Pro No. 2: You may get more lifetime income from Social Security
Delaying your Social Security claim means taking a gamble — that you’ll live long enough to come out with more money in your lifetime by waiting to file. If you start collecting benefits at age 62 but don’t live a very long life, you may end up receiving a larger lifetime benefit than you would by waiting.
Con No. 1: You’ll slash your monthly benefit
For each month you claim Social Security ahead of FRA, your monthly benefit gets reduced. File at age 62, and you’ll be looking at a reduction of 30% if your FRA is 67. That’s a huge hit, and one that could force you to rethink your retirement lifestyle.
Also, if you end up living a longer life, then an early Social Security claim could result in you getting less total lifetime income from the program. That’s on top of a lower monthly benefit.
Con No. 2: Filing early might indirectly result in a faster depletion of your nest egg
If you file for Social Security at age 62, you may be inspired to leave the workforce at that point. But chances are, you won’t be able to live on your monthly Social Security benefit alone — especially once it’s reduced substantially. And so in that case, you may end up withdrawing from your savings at a relatively early age — and eventually depleting your nest egg sooner than you’d like.
Should you file for Social Security at age 62?
There are plenty of good reasons to sign up for Social Security at age 62 — and plenty of good reasons not to. You’ll need to carefully weigh the pros and cons before making your choice.
The $18,984 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook
If you’re like most Americans, you’re a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known “Social Security secrets” could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $18,984 more… each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we’re all after. Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.
The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.