In the retirement planning world, we understand that everyone has different circumstances. Some retirees need to claim their Social Security benefits right away while others can afford to wait. Claiming benefits early (as early as age 62) can mean a permanent reduction in your monthly checks. Meanwhile, you can actually claim larger monthly benefits (by about 8 percent per year) by waiting beyond your full retirement age.
There isn’t a set rule or a “one-size-fits-all” scenario. Your retirement decisions should always be geared to accommodate your individual situation, not what works best for “most” people.
The following four situations may be compelling reasons to claim benefits earlier rather than later:
Your life expectancy is short. If you’re having health problems or have any reason to believe your life expectancy to be shorter than average, it might make sense to go ahead and claim your benefits now.
The lower-earning spouse is older. In some cases, the lower-earning spouse would do better with claiming the spousal benefit instead of their own. But they can only claim this benefit once you’ve filed for your own. It might make sense to file earlier, so that you can retire together.
You still have children at home. This might surprise you, but it’s becoming more common for retirees to still have children living at home. Since they might qualify for certain dependent benefits once you’ve claimed your own, it might make sense to file now.
You need the money. There are various situations in which you might simply need to claim your benefits earlier than expected. Before you do so, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We can help you review your situation, including your retirement income, and possible other streams of income that you could access. Then, before you give up the potential for higher checks in the future, you can make this decision knowing that you’ve fully investigated other options.
Deciding when and how to collect your Social Security benefits can be confusing and it’s important to make an informed decision. We encourage you to sit down with one of our advisors and allow us to explain your options so that you can make the best choice for you and your family.