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Old 02-27-2012, 01:31 PM
Status: "Content and Mellow" (set 17 days ago)
 
23,532 posts, read 18,873,674 times
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I suggest sitting down with your spouse and analyzing your retirement short and long term and the role SS plays in them. Depending on your situation you will come to any one of dozens of conclusions about what is best for you. For us and many who we knew like us the 62/70 plan was best for us but it clearly is not for everyone. If you have a financial advisor you are already getting advice and have a plan in mind.
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:33 PM
Status: "Content and Mellow" (set 17 days ago)
 
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Hanging over all of this for many Americans is means testing and how it might come to be.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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Default Decisions usually require assumptions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TuborgP View Post
Hanging over all of this for many Americans is means testing and how it might come to be.
That's right. Almost all decisions we make are predicated on assumptions, and I think that applies especially to deciding upon the question which is the title of this thread. Two of the main assumptions necessary here are the one about our own longevity and the one about the medium to long-term viability of Social Security itself. Your point above calls into question the viability of the system for those who are comfortable - it creates a doubt about whether those folks will collect full measure (apart from the issue of whether all of us will).

Leaving aside for a moment the spousal benefits question, which makes things a lot more complicated, I can think of only four reasons to take Social Security retirement benefits at age 62:

1. One has lost one's job, exhausted one's savings and other resources, and the prospects for getting another job seem slim to none. This is genuine desparation time, and people in this situation may take Soc. Sec. at 62 just in order to survive.

2. One has little confidence in one's longevity. Either one already has a very serious health issue and/or the family history (genes) seem to indicate relatives are not living to a ripe old age.

3. One is convinced that Social Security is on shaky ground and wishes to get something for at least a few years while the getting is good.

4. One does not need the money at all at age 62 (but is not working either) and one thinks he/she can do better with investing that money (or paying down the mortgage with it, or whatever) than the long-term gains involved in waiting until age 66 (or perhaps later) for the greater monthly benefit amount.

What I have attempted here is a summary of the thread responses so far, except for the spousal issues.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:16 PM
Status: "Content and Mellow" (set 17 days ago)
 
23,532 posts, read 18,873,674 times
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Moderator cut: quote removed
I think you miss what I am talking about when I say means testing. It for some can be critical to when you take SS at 62 or 70. At 70 you will get a higher amount on paper which along with other income will you a higher income compared to age 62. However that higher income could put you over the means testing threshold and result in a reduced SS payment thus throwing off your original calculations about when it would be best to take it. Also you will at age 70 1/2 have mandatory 401/403 draw downs which will add to your potential over means tested income. Much to consider for many of us. I never mentioned anything about SS being alive and well etc but only how the current context of evaluating could change and it would be to late to go back and change it.

Last edited by Keeper; 02-28-2012 at 05:12 AM..
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:19 PM
Status: "Content and Mellow" (set 17 days ago)
 
23,532 posts, read 18,873,674 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
That's right. Almost all decisions we make are predicated on assumptions, and I think that applies especially to deciding upon the question which is the title of this thread. Two of the main assumptions necessary here are the one about our own longevity and the one about the medium to long-term viability of Social Security itself. Your point above calls into question the viability of the system for those who are comfortable - it creates a doubt about whether those folks will collect full measure (apart from the issue of whether all of us will).

Leaving aside for a moment the spousal benefits question, which makes things a lot more complicated, I can think of only four reasons to take Social Security retirement benefits at age 62:

1. One has lost one's job, exhausted one's savings and other resources, and the prospects for getting another job seem slim to none. This is genuine desparation time, and people in this situation may take Soc. Sec. at 62 just in order to survive.

2. One has little confidence in one's longevity. Either one already has a very serious health issue and/or the family history (genes) seem to indicate relatives are not living to a ripe old age.

3. One is convinced that Social Security is on shaky ground and wishes to get something for at least a few years while the getting is good.

4. One does not need the money at all at age 62 (but is not working either) and one thinks he/she can do better with investing that money (or paying down the mortgage with it, or whatever) than the long-term gains involved in waiting until age 66 (or perhaps later) for the greater monthly benefit amount.

What I have attempted here is a summary of the thread responses so far, except for the spousal issues.
I am talking about a means tested dollar amount of say 160K for a couple or 100k for an individual. If taking SS at a later age puts you over that threshold do you really want to do it and have your benefit reduced or take it earlier and get the full benefit. Thats it and no more.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:18 AM
 
Location: Manassas, VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highcotton View Post
It truly is absolutely amazing to me how most people can go through their lives and not save any significant amount of money for their retirement. 99.999% have some excuse (99.998% are lame excuses) why they don't have any savings. I expect to live off dividends and interest alone from dedicated retirement savings for over 15 years (from my retirement age at mid 50s until age 70 when I expect to start taking SS benefits) and never touch the principal amount. Did I plan for the future and retirement? You bet your ass I did! Will my SS benefit ever be needed? No, but I will start taking it...at age 70.
My father has been working his entire life. We grew up in an area with a very depressed economy. After over a year of no work, he scraped everything together that he had and moved us to Virginia. He could only get low paying jobs with no medical benefits let alone 401ks. My mother took extremely ill and we convinced her to go to the hospital (had to - they didn't have insurance and knew they couldn't afford the bill). Well - things went from bad to worse. Mom was in severe congestive heart failure, put on a ventilator, etc....lo and behold, she survived. But they lost everything they had and the hospital is suing them. My mom cannot work or do anything - she is physically unable to. She is in her mid 60s and extremely ill from lupus, rheumatism, kidney failure...and my dad works full time when he is working. Most jobs run temporarily. He is now nearing 70. My parents struggled through their entire lives and did the best they could and never complained. They lost their house, my mom lost her health...sometimes things don't always go the way we expect them to in life. And then to have someone say that people are full of excuses for not saving. My parents did save - but used it all to pay bills because they never not paid a bill. It still wasn't enough and they are still being sued but my dad can say he tried and did his best.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
8,876 posts, read 6,513,187 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vermonter16 View Post
My father has been working his entire life. We grew up in an area with a very depressed economy. After over a year of no work, he scraped everything together that he had and moved us to Virginia. He could only get low paying jobs with no medical benefits let alone 401ks. My mother took extremely ill and we convinced her to go to the hospital (had to - they didn't have insurance and knew they couldn't afford the bill). Well - things went from bad to worse. Mom was in severe congestive heart failure, put on a ventilator, etc....lo and behold, she survived. But they lost everything they had and the hospital is suing them. My mom cannot work or do anything - she is physically unable to. She is in her mid 60s and extremely ill from lupus, rheumatism, kidney failure...and my dad works full time when he is working. Most jobs run temporarily. He is now nearing 70. My parents struggled through their entire lives and did the best they could and never complained. They lost their house, my mom lost her health...sometimes things don't always go the way we expect them to in life. And then to have someone say that people are full of excuses for not saving. My parents did save - but used it all to pay bills because they never not paid a bill. It still wasn't enough and they are still being sued but my dad can say he tried and did his best.
Excellent counterpoint to those who can't understand that not everyone who has only Social Secuirty in retirement has been an irreponsible spendthrift. Some have been, of course, but some have not been. Life is too complex to support sweeping condemnatory generalizations.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Chesapeake Bay area of MD
2,040 posts, read 1,002,159 times
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I think we may still be getting off topic, with saving money or not saving money fo retirement and potential changes to means testing down the road. The topic should be, under current law, would you take SS at 62 or wait until later.

Under current law the only means testing is when you take SS before you qualify for 100% of benefits, typically at 66. If you take the benfits before then, and keep working and you make too much money in your job you lose a percentage of the SS benefit. In my case I have a decent paying job, and if my health will allow it I will keep working past 66, when I will start collecting SS at 100%, and bank that or pay off my house, or both.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:04 AM
Status: "Content and Mellow" (set 17 days ago)
 
23,532 posts, read 18,873,674 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzincat View Post
I think we may still be getting off topic, with saving money or not saving money fo retirement and potential changes to means testing down the road. The topic should be, under current law, would you take SS at 62 or wait until later.

Under current law the only means testing is when you take SS before you qualify for 100% of benefits, typically at 66. If you take the benfits before then, and keep working and you make too much money in your job you lose a percentage of the SS benefit. In my case I have a decent paying job, and if my health will allow it I will keep working past 66, when I will start collecting SS at 100%, and bank that or pay off my house, or both.
If you are use to planning for future years and weighing your possible options and how they might play out how can you ignore means testing and feel you are doing a credible job of planning? If you are planning to age 94 as recommended why wouldn't you look 30 years out? We are currently both 64 retired and in midstream of our SS/retirement enactment plan with a yearly reevaluation. How can I ignore it? We retired on cue at 59 1/2 and the wife took SS at 62 and I still intend to take it at 70 but that is under review depending on changes in the variables. No one has cut our pensions 20% or proposed doing so but we are planning for that eventuallity and that is only common sense. You may elect to narrowly define the universe to base your decision on when to take SS, but I don't and that is freedom we are both allowd to discuss.

Last edited by TuborgP; 02-28-2012 at 09:12 AM..
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:16 AM
 
487 posts, read 346,038 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
Excellent counterpoint to those who can't understand that not everyone who has only Social Secuirty in retirement has been an irreponsible spendthrift. Some have been, of course, but some have not been. Life is too complex to support sweeping condemnatory generalizations.
thank you!!
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