Early Decision James McGlynn | July 21, 2020
DELAYING SOCIAL Security until age 70 will get you the largest possible monthly benefit, and that’s the right strategy for many retirees. But what’s right for many folks won’t necessarily be right for you—and you may want to file at 62, the youngest possible age, so you maximize your total lifetime benefit.
If you’re single with no dependents, you should probably file at age 62 if you’re in poor health or your family doesn’t have great genes, and you don’t expect to live to age 80. Over this relatively short period, the smaller monthly benefit starting at age 62 will likely prove more valuable than waiting to get a larger monthly check.
Similarly, if you’re single and have no other income to live on, by all means start Social Security at 62. In both instances—poor health or no other income—beginning at 62 should be the right decision, provided you don’t live into your 80s.
If you’re widowed, there may also be good reason to begin Social Security at age 62. Survivor benefits can typically start at age 60 and won’t get any larger if you delay beyond your full Social Security retirement age, which will be 66 or 67, depending on the year you were born.
In some instances, a widow or widower might start her or his own benefit at age 62 and then switch over to survivor benefits at full retirement age, assuming the survivor benefit is bigger. Alternatively, those who are widowed might start survivor benefits at age 60 and then claim their own benefit—based on their own earnings history—at age 70, at which point it’ll be at its largest, thanks to the delay.
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Source: Early Decision – HumbleDollar