Seniors are bombarded with advice about when to claim Social Security. The standard line is to wait for full retirement age (FRA) to maximize your monthly benefit. But what if your “golden years” hold more than golden opportunities? In certain situations, claiming Social Security at 62, despite the benefit reduction, can be a strategic and fulfilling move.
In the United States, the age at which a person can retire and receive full Social Security benefits depends on their birth year. The full retirement age (FRA) gradually increases as established in current legislation. Individuals can choose to retire as early as age 62. However, if you opt for early retirement, your Social Security benefits will be reduced. But, there are some advantages.
Is It Worth Claiming Social Security At Age 62?
The Full Retirement Age (FRA) varies based on the individual’s year of birth. For those born in 1937 or earlier, the full retirement age is 65. If the birth year is 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67. For individuals born between 1937 and 1960, the FRA falls somewhere between 65 and 67, contingent on the specific birth year. Additionally, individuals have the option to delay retirement beyond the full retirement age, and by doing so, they can increase their Social Security benefits until reaching the age of 70.
Now, here’s a catchphrase you gotta have in mind: live while you’re able. Life throws curveballs. You might be brimming with health and aspirations at 62, only to face unforeseen health challenges later. This is where the YOLO principle (You Only Live Once) comes in. If you have concrete goals dependent on good health, like that European hiking trip you’ve dreamt of, waiting for a larger Social Security check might mean missing your window.
Claiming at 62 reduces your monthly income, but the trade-off could be worth it. Imagine using those benefits to tick off experiences from your bucket list while you’re physically able. This doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind. A financial cushion is critical. A comfortable pension, savings, or other assets ensure you can meet basic needs after claiming early. This strategy assumes you’ll be financially secure even without the full Social Security benefit.
Embrace the NOW: Retiring at Age 62 to Live Your Life
Many postpone dreams until retirement, sacrificing present opportunities for a potentially comfortable future. But what if that future doesn’t arrive as envisioned? Claiming early allows you to chase your goals while you can: a fulfilling alternative to waiting on “what ifs.”
Pursuing dreams is important, remember the long-term. A higher Social Security benefit can bolster your financial stability. Weigh your financial preparedness against your goals and priorities. Can you comfortably live on a reduced benefit while fulfilling your dreams? If so, go for it!.
Remember, claiming early doesn’t have to be all-encompassing. Consider claiming spousal benefits while delaying your own, maximizing income while you wait. Ultimately, the best approach is personal. Evaluate your health, finances, and aspirations to make an informed decision that optimizes both your present and future happiness. Claiming at 62 isn’t always the right choice. But for those in good health with clear goals and a secure financial base, it can be a path to a more fulfilling and enriching retirement experience.