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View Poll Results: When did you (or when do you plan to) start taking Social Security benefits?
Age 62 52 65.82%
Age 63 1 1.27%
Age 64 0 0%
Age 65 5 6.33%
Age 66 10 12.66%
Age 67 or older 11 13.92%
Voters: 79. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 02-15-2010, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Hills & Hollers of SW MO
17,714 posts, read 13,379,113 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highcotton View Post
Collecting early means locking in a lower payment for the rest of your life and for your spouse if she/he survives you...unless you pay it all back at age 66 and reset. I'm not so sure that many people have the [future] vision to realize this because all the see is the chance to collect. Of course many of life's events could dictate what you do (e.g. if you are eligible and have lost your job and can't find another one, etc.).

Just to retire as soon as you can start collecting SS at age 62 (and actually collecting it) just does not make any sense to me. Social Security has always been a supplement to pensions, sizeable savings and investments. If a retiree isn't prepared with much beyond what SS pays it's going to be mighty tough, and that's even more true when the lower payment is locked-in for life...
That's precisely what it meant. However, with two defined benefit pensions with survivoir benefits, 401(k)s and SS, we're at very low risk and will be fine.

We most certainly did have vision and being prepared, it makes perfectly good sense for us.

Everyone's situation is different.
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Unread 02-15-2010, 06:04 PM
 
Location: High Cotton
5,775 posts, read 2,955,988 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
I have a question. I had to stop working at age 60 due to health problems. Now, I could possibly manage to age 66 on my savings, but--- will my not working those 6 years lower what I was supposed to get from SS if I had kept working till retirement age?

I realize I have to call the SS office for this. Just wondering what to expect.
Thanks...
Quote:
Originally Posted by triciajeanne View Post
I'll take a stab at this one. On the report one gets from social security annually, it generally says what your benefit would be based on your present salary were you to continue to work until I assume age 66 (depending on your birth year and the change in when each of us can retire). So that amount is likely higher than what you will receive if you stepped out of the work force earlier than retirement age. Someone can chime in here if that amount they estimate for you is based on retirement at age 62. I'm assuming that while you stopped working for health reasons, you didn't qualify for social security disability. With disability, each annual statement reports what you would receive if you were to be disabled at the time of the issuance of the statement so that number is pretty reliable and is not projected on anticipated future earnings.

My ex thought that I would likely be eligible for his higher benefits now because of disability issues but since disability is based on one's own work history, the issue of his higher benefits don't figure in until I am of retirement age. Now, that is what I am assuming is the case. I haven't asked but I suppose at some point I should ask even if I think I know the answer.

Hope this helps!
Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most (based on the inflation-adjusted amounts). Therefore if you have earnings for 35 years your monthly benefit won't be affected. However, if you had continued to work your [likely] higher (inflation-adjusted) earnings years at the tail-end of your working career would have replaced lower earning years within the 35 year period.

Last edited by highcotton; 02-15-2010 at 06:14 PM..
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Unread 02-15-2010, 06:34 PM
 
Location: High Cotton
5,775 posts, read 2,955,988 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
That's precisely what it meant. However, with two defined benefit pensions with survivoir benefits, 401(k)s and SS, we're at very low risk and will be fine.

We most certainly did have vision and being prepared, it makes perfectly good sense for us.

Everyone's situation is different.
You may want to have an expert run the numbers on taking SS benefits early versus using other assets until age 66 when full SS benefits kick-in and are adjusted for inflation each year for the rest of your life. With two defined retirement accounts you are, as you say, low risk. But, being low risk is not the issue - it is maximizing your SS benefits and your retirement assets. If you have some extra regular (non tax-deferred) taxable savings set aside or even some extra after-tax money in your 401(k) that can be used until you reach age 66, you'll be a lot better off waiting until age 66 to collect SS benefits.
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Unread 02-15-2010, 10:56 PM
 
39,536 posts, read 39,195,865 times
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I think its different for everyone. i personally don't want to wait to see what happens in four years;especaily the way things are going.But I can see it if the perosn actually will need that money to live how they want at 66. Its not always a matter of making the most at a much later date in your age also. The difference between 62 ans 66 is like the difference between 50 and 60 as you advance that I see.So each must decide for themselves what is best for them and their situation.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
1,923 posts, read 1,174,232 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highcotton View Post
Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most (based on the inflation-adjusted amounts). Therefore if you have earnings for 35 years your monthly benefit won't be affected. However, if you had continued to work your [likely] higher (inflation-adjusted) earnings years at the tail-end of your working career would have replaced lower earning years within the 35 year period.
It's not as simple as this. Someone with a lower or average income work history (even with a 35 year work history) would benefit from working those extra years - unless they qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If you receive disability benefits, SSA will pretend you continued to work and continued to earn your highest salary until you reach retirement age. That's why we have a zillion folks in their late 50's and early 60's currently applying for disability benefits. Employers laid them off...they can't find another job in this economy, and yet they are, in fact, disabled "enough" to meet the eligibility criteria. Someone who was a high income earner probably wouldn't see much difference if she chose not to work those last 5 years or so. I would suggest playing with the retirement calculator at SSA's website.

BTW, it's silly to imply someone has not planned carefully if s/he chooses to take benefits at age 62. My father is currently 84, retired at 62, and brings in more pension money per year than any of his children earn working full time. I know this is unusual, but it serves as a reminder why everyone needs to figure out what is best for him or her.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 11:27 AM
 
39,536 posts, read 39,195,865 times
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I took mine at 62 and retired at 50 and have done fine without it. As I look at people I know who are not retiring at 62 or earlier that most common reason is that they have to work for a reason;many are raising or paying for much of their grandchildrens education. They will be fine retriring later but taking it at 62 with the reduced earning allowed they would be foolish taking it under the circumstances.Everyoen is different really as to why tehy do or don't take it at 62.
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Unread 02-16-2010, 12:04 PM
 
Location: High Cotton
5,775 posts, read 2,955,988 times
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If you're contemplating early retirement and you have sufficient resources (adequate investments, a traditional pension, other sources of income, etc.), you should wait until at least age 66 to take the full Social Security benefit amount and inflation adjustments for lifetime. However, if you can't make ends meet without electing for an early, permanently (fixed) reduced benefit amount without inflation adjustments, you may want to consider postponing retirement for a few years until you reach your normal retirement age, or even longer.

The difference between taking SS early or waiting until 66 is whether you have sufficient resources to retire early in the first place. If you have sufficient resources to retire early then you should not need to take SS early. If you do not have sufficient resources to retire early without taking SS early, then you should not be retiring early. The problem is that most people who elect to retire early and also take SS early are ill-prepared to take early retirement in the first place (unless the decision was due to job loss and exhausting assets)...or they have taken poor advice and they are ignorant about financial matters. People that retire early and have sufficient resources to get them by until age 66 before taking SS benefits are the people that can really afford to take early retirement...

I dare say that most people view the early SS benefit (at age 62) as gift money that creates much the same mindset that people get when new-found money burns a hole in their pocket. But instead of going out and buying something with the new-found money they decide they can buy their retirement with it. The end result is the same - it's a poor decision!
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Unread 02-16-2010, 12:05 PM
 
2,031 posts, read 1,744,143 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by triciajeanne View Post
almost positive the answer is no - if you are married and your spouse dies, you may be able to receive both your benefit and theirs but i don't know on that.

But i am mostly mostly certain that if your ex dies, you cannot collect both your benefit and 100 percent of their benefit. My benefits are so low that i know 1/2 of my ex's will exceed my 100 per cent. And i sure know that 100 percent of his benefits will definitely exceed my 100 per cent. So there is no question what i will be doing, without hurrying him along to better my financial porfolio.....however, yankinscotland, let me get your address.....
lol
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Unread 02-16-2010, 12:15 PM
 
2,031 posts, read 1,744,143 times
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I moved from the US at age 48 and had worked about 20 years. I get a statement from SS every year with a prediction of what my SS will be when I'm eligible. It states zero US income since age 48 (10 years ago), but the prediction gets lower with every statement. I guess they think I may earn some US income before age 62 or 66. ??
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Unread 02-16-2010, 12:48 PM
 
Location: High Cotton
5,775 posts, read 2,955,988 times
Reputation: 3328
Quote:
Originally Posted by yankinscotland View Post
I moved from the US at age 48 and had worked about 20 years. I get a statement from SS every year with a prediction of what my SS will be when I'm eligible. It states zero US income since age 48 (10 years ago), but the prediction gets lower with every statement. I guess they think I may earn some US income before age 62 or 66. ??
This was covered in a previous post. Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most (based on the inflation-adjusted amounts).

Since you only worked for 20 years you did not have earnings for at least 35 years, therefore your average indexed monthly earnings will decrease with each statement you receive. SS does not know if you decided to take a leave from employment and plan to return to employment with future earnings, or if you will no longer be employed again. Thus, they send you the statement each year with zeros for the years you had no earnings and your average indexed monthly earnings will undoubtedly decrease because you do not have earnings for 35 years or more.
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