Is it Better to Retire at 62 or 67? A Comprehensive Guide to Social Security Benefits

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Key Takeaways:

  • Claiming Social Security at 62 results in a 30% reduction in monthly benefits compared to waiting until your full retirement age (FRA).
  • Delaying claiming Social Security past your FRA until age 70 increases your benefit by 8% per year.
  • Waiting to claim Social Security allows for continued income and tax contributions, potentially maximizing your benefits.
  • Consider your health, financial situation, and retirement goals when deciding when to claim Social Security.

Understanding Social Security Benefits:

Social Security provides a vital source of income for many retirees in the United States. The age at which you choose to claim benefits significantly impacts the amount you receive. This guide explores the key differences between claiming Social Security at 62 or 67 and helps you determine the best option for your individual circumstances.

Claiming Social Security at 62:

  • Reduced Benefits: Opting to claim benefits at 62 results in a permanent 30% reduction in your monthly payments compared to waiting until your FRA. This reduction applies for the rest of your life.
  • Early Access to Income: Claiming benefits at 62 provides immediate access to income, which can be helpful if you need the money or plan to retire early.
  • Potential Impact on Spousal Benefits: If your spouse is also eligible for Social Security benefits, claiming at 62 could affect the amount they receive as a spousal benefit.

Claiming Social Security at 67:

  • Full Benefits: Waiting until your FRA of 67 allows you to receive your full benefit amount, as determined by your earnings history.
  • Increased Benefits for Delayed Claiming: For every year you delay claiming benefits past your FRA up to age 70, your benefit increases by 8%. This means waiting until 70 could result in a 24% higher monthly payment compared to claiming at 67.
  • Continued Income and Tax Contributions: Working and delaying claiming benefits allows you to continue earning income and contributing to Social Security taxes, potentially increasing your future benefits.

Factors to Consider When Making Your Decision:

  • Health: Your health and life expectancy play a crucial role in your decision. If you have a shorter life expectancy, claiming benefits earlier may be advantageous.
  • Financial Situation: Consider your current financial situation and retirement savings. If you have sufficient savings and investments, you may have more flexibility to delay claiming benefits.
  • Retirement Goals: Your retirement goals and lifestyle aspirations influence your decision. If you plan to travel extensively or pursue expensive hobbies, you may need to claim benefits earlier to supplement your income.

Additional Considerations:

  • Spousal Benefits: If your spouse has a higher earning history, you may be eligible for spousal benefits even if you claim your own benefits early.
  • Taxes: Social Security benefits are taxable, so consider the potential tax implications of claiming at different ages.
  • Medicare Eligibility: If you are not yet eligible for Medicare, claiming Social Security benefits early may allow you to access Medicare Part A without paying premiums.

The decision of when to claim Social Security is a personal one that requires careful consideration of your individual circumstances. By understanding the key differences between claiming at 62 or 67, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your financial goals and retirement plans. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, and the best option for you may differ from someone else in a similar situation.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the full retirement age for Social Security?

A: The full retirement age for Social Security depends on your birth year. For those born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67.

Q: How much do Social Security benefits typically pay?

A: The average monthly Social Security benefit in 2023 is $1,681. However, the actual amount you receive depends on your earnings history and the age at which you claim benefits.

Q: Can I claim Social Security benefits while still working?

A: Yes, you can claim Social Security benefits while still working. However, your benefits may be reduced if your earnings exceed a certain limit.

Q: What happens if I die before I start claiming Social Security benefits?

A: If you die before claiming Social Security benefits, your spouse or dependent children may be eligible to receive survivor benefits.

Q: Where can I find more information about Social Security?

A: The Social Security Administration (SSA) website provides a wealth of information about Social Security benefits, including eligibility requirements, claiming options, and benefit calculators. You can visit the SSA website at


This guide is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. It is essential to consult with a qualified financial advisor to discuss your individual circumstances and make informed decisions about your Social Security benefits.

Waiting until age 70 is still the best financial path for most Americans.

When you start receiving Social Security benefits in your retirement years, few decisions will have a greater impact on your finances. The consequences of your decision will follow you for the rest of your life.

Many people choose to start receiving their Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 in order to maximize their benefits. Some would rather delay even longer or wait until they reach their full retirement age, which is 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

Here are three reasons to think about splitting the difference when deciding whether to take Social Security at age 62 or 67.

is it better to retire at 62 or 67

Your penalty will be lower.

The significant financial penalty associated with taking Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 is the main disadvantage. Your monthly payment will be %2030% less than what it would be if you waited until you reached the full retirement age of 67.

A good middle-of-the-road solution might be to split the difference between starting at age 64 or 65 (or somewhere in between) and collecting benefits at 62 or 67. It would enable you to retire earlier than the typical retirement age and to lower the early retirement penalty.

Social Security at Age 62, 67, 70 | Pros and Cons of Each

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