Take Social Security at 62 (maybe) is wisest...?

I just turned 62 and thus am eligible for SS. The conventional wisdom would have you wait until full retirement age or age 70 because you get more $$$. That’s true in terms of the nominal monthly payment you’ll receive. But the real question you should ask is: What will net you the most in constant dollars over your expected lifetime? I “ran the numbers*” and the biggest improvement (if I waited until later) I found was < 10% and that assumed near-ideal conditions (zero inflation.) In fact, at any inflation rate >3%, taking the money at age 62 works for nearly any scenario. There are other factors involved in deciding when to take benefits, but in my case it’s pretty much a no-brainer: I’m not going to be around forever, and social security will likely have to cut benefits in the future, so I’m taking what I can, while I can. Oh by the way, the government is hoping you’ll die sooner – thus, less people asking for a pension.

*It’s possible I goofed in my analysis, so do your own investigation.


Solid decision in my humble opinion. Been taking SS for 17 years now 18 at the end of this month. Don’t need it but it’s better off in my hands than Uncle’s.


Work situations are yet another factor. Employee Offers to reduce the manload/count numbers… I hit both as I was about to roll into 62 in '02, turning 62 in '03, we sorted it out as my DW was still working, pension+offered annuity meant we were snug, but OK… Took most of that time to sort out all the bits and pieces of my Ma Bell collection of T & all the RBOCs, I’d folded most into BellSouth, it did well, so a new Edward Jones account, out out all, guesstimate purchase prices, some in ESOPs that had to wait a while…

Workwise, all my trained supervisors, managers were about to or had already bailed, spots filled by newbies… It was time to go… Many changes since, an offer of a complete buyout, but while able to match income to replace the defined pension, the medical, dental ate in too deep, so a bit of a gamble to turn it down, still going, thanks to Nokia today… PBGC if it ever collapsed as it did for Avaya employees several years back…

Never an easy decision…


Circumstances can trump arithmetic on occasion. My wife started taking SS on the early side, I’m not sure exactly when. She was ten years older, and hadn’t worked in a few years. She wanted to take it and I had no reason to object. I had a bit of a pension from my last employer (more correctly from the last company of six to own the company where I worked for 28 years). Those helped make it possible for me retire early. That allowed me to spend time with her before the years caught up. When she passed I began collecting survivor benefits against her SS, which continued until I turned 71 last year and I started SS on my own basis. So I now collect a really nice amount from SS each month. All it really means is that I will be drawing down my IRA a bit slower, and my daughters will eventually have a bit more to inherit.


Ahh, shucks, fixed it… Lower the payroll, give the survivors a bit more time… We were doomed it seems, lasted longer than I expected, a buddy stuck it out for a few more years, but a stroke nailed him soon after, so, maybe he should have gone earlier…

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