Figuring out when to claim Social Security is one of the most daunting challenges of retirement. In some cases, claiming early makes sense. In many other situations, it pays to wait.
However, the largest percentage of Americans appear to have made up their minds: They start getting their benefits at age 62, according to a 2020 analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center.
In fact, the study found that for both men and women, the most popular ages for beginning benefits are:
- Age 62
- Age 66
- Age 65
Nearly 35% of men and nearly 40% of women take benefits at 62, the earliest possible age of eligibility for most Americans.
Taking benefits that early makes sense in some circumstances, such as if you absolutely need the money or have health problems that suggest you may not live a long life.
However, as the Bipartisan Policy Center points out, citing data from investment company United Income, taking benefits early can be hazardous to your financial health:
“The income losses from early claiming are quite large. A study commissioned by United Income estimates that today’s older Americans will lose a total of $3.4 trillion in potential income because of early claiming, with an average lifetime loss of $95,000 per household.”
Retirees seem to be increasingly aware of this reality. In recent decades, the percentage of both men and women taking benefits early has steadily declined, according to the center.
The center says the United Income study found that the poverty rate for Americans over age 70 would fall by nearly half — from 13% to 7% — if every older American claimed Social Security at the ages that maximized lifetime income.
Making the right Social Security decisions
Avoiding Social Security mistakes can spell the difference between a decent retirement and scraping by in your golden years.
If you are uncertain about when to begin taking Social Security benefits, check out “Your Top 5 Retirement Questions, Answered.”
Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson addresses five key questions in that article:
- How much money do I need to retire?
- How should I invest before and after retirement?
- When should I start taking Social Security?
- Should I pay off my mortgage before retirement?
- What is an annuity and should I buy one?
If you need more personalized help, check out Social Security Choices. The company is among a handful that will give you a personalized analysis of your Social Security situation.
Social Security Choices sells its product for $39.99. But readers of Money Talks News can do even better. When buying a report, simply use the coupon code “moneytalks” to get a $10 discount off the usual price.
For more about Social Security Choices, check out “A Simple Way to Maximize Your Social Security.”
Finally, consider enrolling in Money Talks News’ retirement course. It’s a 14-week boot camp with everything you need to plan the rest of your life, know you’ll have enough money to retire and make your retirement dreams a reality.
The course is intended for those who are 45 or older, but even younger folks can benefit from the wisdom to be gleaned from these lessons.
For more on the course, check out The Only Retirement Guide You’ll Ever Need.
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