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PSSC DISCUSSIONS

Social Security and Retirement Age

Thursday, March 31, 2016

What age should I retire? This is a question on a lot of people’s minds. Is it as simple as filing for benefits at age 62? What is my full retirement age and what does that mean? There is a lot of thought and decisions to be made before filing for your Social Security benefits. There are pros and cons to filing at age 62, your full retirement age, age 70 or anywhere in-between.

Filing at 62 means you can retire and receive your monthly benefit sooner. It also means you will receive a lower monthly benefit for the rest of your life, lower the amount of survivor’s benefits you leave for your spouse (i.e. widows/widowers benefits), and limiting the amount of your earnings so you can receive your benefits. Waiting until your full retirement age or age 70 means giving up benefits for several years for a higher monthly benefit, but how long will it take you to reach your breakeven point? Each person’s situation is different. You have to take your financial status, health, and estate planning goals into consideration before asking these questions.

Once you file you are stuck with your decision with few exceptions. Single individuals have 3 basic strategies. Married couples have about 8 different strategies. Widow/widowers have about 4 or 5 different strategies. You have to look at what benefits are payable at the different strategies and then make the decision that is best for you in the short term and long term. Social Security benefits are a lifetime benefit but, with the exception of cost of living raises, what you receive in benefits now is what you will receive throughout your lifetime.

There were no cost of living increases in the past two years. If you are enrolled in Medicare Medical Insurance (Part B) you may not see a net increase in 2012 because the cost of living increase that is currently be talked about will be go to an increase in your monthly premium. It is so important to maximize your Social Security benefit.



 
 
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