With the rough economy, many not quite retirement age people find that it’s tempting to draw early social security to help them make ends meet, but is this the best option out there? It’s essential to remember that in the event that even though a late-fifty-something may suddenly find themselves unemployed, it might not be time to “officially” retire.
Consider this: The FRA, or full retirement age according to social security is 66 years and two months. This is when you will be able to collect your full benefits according to your earnings record of the past. Although it is possible to file for benefits at the age of 62, you will only be able to enjoy about 74 percent of the benefits that you’ve earned. Plus, if you wait until you are 70 to file for benefits, you can actually earn credits on those benefits you’re entitled to; this will help you to get more money each month.
When you’re married, widowed or divorced, the decision of when to draw social security benefits can become even more complex. In fact, there are about 81 different Social Security benefit combinations for those that are married. An example would be when one spouse has been working, but the other has not; it might make sense to draw a spousal benefit when you’re 62, but defer personal benefits until 70. Benefits for spouses are 34 percent of the benefits of the spouse.
Add that to the fact that calculating benefits can be tough if you have spent time working as a teacher in some states.
Instead of trying to draw early Social Security benefits, experts believe that a job loss is not the right time to depend on benefits. Many suggest that at least finding a way to earn money for the next few years can be better for finances in the long term. At the very least, avoid using social security until they reach their full retirement age. However, for those that want to explore all of their options, figure out what your benefit will be when you’re 62, then determine how much you will get at your full retirement age, and then find out what you would get if you could wait until you were 70.
Keep in mind that Social Security doesn’t send out paper statements anymore, so you will have to go to www.socialsecurity.gov and set up your account. Keep in mind that this is the only way that you will be able to find out about the benefit amounts that you will get.
The next step to deciding whether you should wait, or take social security benefits now is to look at www.socialsecuritytiming.com. This will help you to determine what strategies and benefits will be the best option for you.
You’ll have access to free calculators to get going, and it also offers a listing of advisors that are pros when it comes to Social Security benefits and can help you decide what timing will work best for your situation.
Losing a job so close to retirement can feel pretty scary, but when you’re prepared and know your options, you can ensure that you know your options and can maximize your quality of life now, and later in life.