Seniors have the option to take Social Security as early as age 62 at a lower monthly income because they need the support. The longer a person waits, the more they will receive each month. For this reason, many seniors have a difficult decision to make about when they should start taking their Social Security benefits. Seniors can start collecting benefits up to the age of 70, when the monthly amount is significantly higher.
When it comes time to decide when to start Social Security, seniors need to consider their individual needs as well as those of family members and spouses who will be impacted by the benefits. Some of the considerations should include a person's health, current income and senior retirement planning.
Full retirement age
It is important to note that the Social Security Agency does not give out full benefits until someone has reached the full retirement age, or FRA, though Americans may choose to start receiving benefits earlier. If a person does decide to start payments before they reach FRA, the amount they receive will be reduced. An FRA depends on the recipient's birthday. For those who were born between 1943 and 1954, the age is 66. For those who were born later, the age has increased to 67. If a person decides to take benefits before they reach FRA, the amount is reduced 25 percent, but is 8 percent higher for each year benefits are delayed. However, the delays caps at 32 percent.
When figuring out retirement, it is important to look at personal finance for seniors to see how much they will need to live on each month. Social Security benefits are often not enough to pay for everything a senior will need to live, including rent, food and healthcare costs. To plan for retirement, seniors should calculate Social Security as extra income in addition to whatever savings and investments they have, instead of as the main source.
When to start benefits may depend on a person's financial situation. If there is a need for supplemental income, a senior can start taking it early if need be. If there is not a need for financial support at an earlier age, seniors should consider putting off the start date of benefits in order to receive a larger amount later on. Social Security will continue until the end of a person's life, but savings could run out much earlier.
Another reason seniors might start Social Security earlier is because of health. People are living longer than they have in the past, with the average length of life reaching 84 for a man and 86 for a woman, according to the SSA. However, people's expected lifespan depends on their health and any chronic diseases that might develop. Many figure their retirement planning based on how long they expect to live. Taking Social Security benefits may also be figured the same way.
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