If collecting Social Security early at age 62 vs taking it at 70 will not make a significant impact on my quality of life (will have a steady pension and 457 to draw from), why not take it earlier and enjoy it? Is the extra $700 a month worth it to delay?
The good news is that I still have 18 years before needing to make this decision.
I have adopted the “delay of gratification” mindset to maximize my journey to financial independence (maxing my 457, Roth IRA, etc, brokerage account with a motley fool buy and hold mentality). But when you have been delaying for most of your life, why not treat early SS money as a travel/vacation Fun money.
I think I would have more fun blowing through it on life experiences even if it doesn’t make sense financially. Sometimes being Reasonable makes more sense than being Rational.
I think I answered my own question.
Maybe I’ll compromise and collect at 65, right between 62 and 70. Lol
A somewhat ironic aspect of Social Security is that if you can afford to delay taking it, then it probably doesn’t matter all that much when you do take it. On the other hand, if you cannot afford to delay taking it, then it likely would benefit you more if you figured out a way to delay.
A handful of things to consider:
If you’re still working and below your full retirement age, then it probably doesn’t make sense to collect. This is due to the fact that there’s a penalty that’s as high as $1 for every $2 you earn from working above a fairly modest threshold.
One key benefit that Social Security provides is an inflation adjustment, based on the level of your benefit. The bigger your benefit level (such as if you delay), the bigger the income source that gets that inflation adjustment. It’s generally very expensive (if it’s at all possible) to get a built-in inflation adjustment from other retirement income sources.
As an income stream rather than as an asset, it’s very hard for a scammer to get permanent control over your Social Security. Senior scams are real, and if your investment assets get taken in one, you may be permanently out of luck. On the flip side, if your Social Security check gets misdirected, you can get future payments re-directed back into your control fairly easily.
If you have a spouse, the surviving spouse generally gets the higher of the two Social Security benefits once the first one passes. If you’re the money manager of the family, consider whether delaying gets your spouse a higher benefit once you’re gone, easing some of the burden of those new money management responsibilities.
Even if you are working, it makes sense under current rules to collect once you reach 70. This is because you no longer get credit for delaying your benefit.
Eighteen years of earnings that can impact your SS payments. Payments are based on your 35 years of highest earnings, which generally come toward the end of your working life. And with eighteen years until you are 62, can you even have 35 years of earnings yet?
I’m confused. Are you counting the 18 years from 62 to 70 as the 18 years to make your decision? If so, then you are actually making a decision by choosing not to draw early. The earliest possible time that you can draw SS is at 62 years and 1 month. If you make a decision not to draw at that time, then you will be making a decision each month to draw or not, until you finally decide to draw. But that’s not “18 years to make a decision” - that’s 18 years of decisions made each and every month, whether by commission or omission.
Ahh, so you really do have another 18 years before the current rules would let you claim, at the earliest. That said - there are likely be changes between now and then, especially since SS is currently projected to run through the trust fund in about 10 years. Who knows, they might even raise the early claiming age, so you might have more than 18 years.
We were 7 years into retirement and using our portfolio for about 90% of our expense money.
I made a spreadsheet with two basic models:
Straight drawdown of portfolio with no SS.
Reduced drawdown of portfolio by adding SS payment to offset expenses.
Using the 2nd sheet, I tried stepping the SS start time between 62, FRA(66 for us) and 70. I varied the return from 6% to 16%. The advantage of starting at 62 began to show at about 7 3/4% return. When I stretched growth to 16%, it was blindingly obvious.
For DW, we started her benefit at 70. When she hit her FRA, I had her start a restricted benefit, getting a spousal benefit based on my FRA amount, not my reduced, age 62 benefit. At age 70, she made the change online to her work record benefit.
Doing this gave us a lot more cash over a longer period and will give her a near max cash flow if I die first. If I don’t leave first, I will have a survivor benefit based on her record plus our portfolio. Her pension is 100% to her, none to me. When I had a pension, it was 100% to her as a survivor.
Taking SS early reduces your amount from your FRA amount by 5/9th percent (0.5556%) for every month earlier than your FRA. Mine was supposed to be -26.667% but SSA made it -25%. Go figure …
The option to choose between benefits based on a spouse’s work record and your own work record is no longer available for anyone who turned (will turn) 62 on or after Jan 2, 2016. Now, you just get the larger of the 2 benefits whenever you choose to file.
I’m 62, but I’ll wait until 70. My spouse is 10 years younger than me and has taken off the past 13 years to raise our kids, so her SS benefit will be much smaller than mine. Delaying taking mine maximizes the spousal benefit she will get once I’m gone, and she’s very likely to outlive me by a decade or more.