Social Security

Take it when you can get it ….

I recently read a blog comment regarding Social Security that read:

I went to the local Social Security office at age 62 and asked them two questions. Can you guarantee Social Security will be here in eight years? Can you guarantee I will live another eight years. The answer was, no. End of story, I started my Social Security at age 62.

Is that the best way to approach the decision about taking Social Security? I think not.

Let’s be clear, Social Security is not going anywhere, ever. If anything, there will be gradual, albeit modest, increases in the benefit in the years to come. Despite its current fiscal state in need of fixing, it will be fixed eventually.

As far as living goes, who knows, but at 62 the odds of living to age 70 are pretty good. But that isn’t even the point. The goal is not to maximize the total you collect in Social Security, but to maximize the monthly income Social Security generates when you need the income the most.

Categories: Social Security

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3 replies »

  1. I started mine and my wifes SS at age 62, because of credit card debt. We will collect $354,816 not counting colas, if we live to be 85. If we waited until full retirement we would get an extra $40,000. Starting SS early has increased our monthly income by 66 % and we now have an emergency fund with $4,500. In Jan 2020 we will be able to invest all of our SS benefit each month. I retired at 50 and believe for my family taking SS benefits early was the best decision, considering it helped pay off $28,000 in debt and boosted my credit score from 550 to 750.

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  2. Actually, a sizeable percentage of us seek only to minimize the losses from mandated participation in Social Security. We will never recover the wealth contributed to the system. So, for us, maximizing the total value received is the goal.

    That may or may not include commencing at age 62. That may or may not include commencing at age 70.

    No one can predict the future for social security except to note that the current funding does not sustain the anticipated payments. How Congress adjusts the benefits and/or taxes, or both, remains to be seen. Cutting the benefit amount for someone already receiving payments is perhaps one of the least likely solutions. Instead, for beneficiaries, expect to see income-based changes that might curtail the COLA, increase taxes on benefits, etc.

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  3. “The goal is not to maximize the total you collect in Social Security, but to maximize the monthly income Social Security generates when you need the income the most.”

    This statement is not universally true. As they say “there are different strokes for different folks.”

    Not everyone has the same circumstances and goals. Your statement might be true for those who will rely on social security in great part for their retirement but there are others who won’t be reliant on social security but whose goal is to recapture the money they put into the system. I agree that social security isn’t going away but there is the chance that benefits will be reduced in the future as an across the board cut or just for certain folks who are deemed to have sufficient wealth and income.

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