10 Reasons You Should Consider Claiming Social Security Benefits Early

Social Security benefits are replacement income paid to qualified retired adults and people with disabilities. It is also given to the spouses, children, and survivors of these individuals. Social Security forms a significant portion of any individual’s retirement portfolio. However, it may not be adequate on its own. You can claim your Social Security benefits at the age of 62. However, delaying your claim can offer some advantages. For instance, if you wait till your full retirement age (66 for those born in 1954 and 67 for those born in 1960 or later), you can receive a higher check.

The common consensus on Social Security is to delay claiming it. This will offer you a higher income in retirement and help you combat longevity risk or the risk of outliving your savings. Most people work part-time or have other means of income during the initial years of transitioning into retirement. More and more people are also considering working well into their 60s in today’s times. So, delaying claiming Social Security benefits is now common. However, there can be certain situations where claiming Social Security benefits can be necessary. For further information on social security benefits and how they fit in your overall retirement plan, consider seeking the services of a professional financial advisor who can clarify your concerns and also create a suitable retirement plan for your financial needs.

We will discuss different situations where claiming the minimum Social Security benefits at 62 can be helpful in the article below.

Who should take Social Security at 62?

Anybody can take Social Security at the age of 62 as long as they want to. Not everyone delays claiming their benefits.

Should I take Social Security at 62?

You may consider taking Social Security early in the following circumstances:

1. You are out of money: 

Retirement planning is essential to ensure a happy and financially secure retirement. However, unfortunately, the median 401k balance is only $35,345 in the U.S. as of 2022. Being ill-prepared for retirement is fairly common whether it is a lack of planning, limited interest in savings and investments, debt liabilities, financial contingencies, or any other issue. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you may need money to get by. In this case, you may have three options. The first is to get a job. However, you may not always be able to do so because of health reasons, personal commitments, or other factors. Old age, family responsibilities, and lack of work opportunities for senior citizens are all significant issues that can prohibit you from working in retirement. Therefore, you may not be able to work.

The second option is to resort to debt. However, this is a short-term solution. You may take debt to cover immediate needs. However, loans and credit cards cannot support your daily expenses for long. Therefore, the third and last option is to claim the minimum Social Security benefit at 62.

2. You have enough money:

The other scenario in retirement is to have enough money in your possession. If you have been a thoughtful investor with adequate savings and investments to back you, you do not necessarily benefit from delaying your Social Security benefits. If you have a high 401k and Individual Retirement Account (IRA) pool, investment returns from stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), etc., income from pension accounts, and more, you can start claiming your Social Security benefit at a young age. The benefit may be relatively smaller, but you would be in a position to forego the higher check.

You can also consider claiming your Social Security benefits check if you are considering downsizing. If you live in a smaller house, have fewer expenses, or are living in a tax-friendly state post-retirement, you may be able to save some money. If your overall expenditure is low, you would not feel the need to delay and increase your check.

However, before you claim your benefits, ensure that you understand your actual net worth correctly. Look at all your investments and understand the scope of your returns and income sources in retirement. You must also consider your tax liabilities and then make an informed decision.

3. You are terminally ill:

If you are suffering from an illness and expect a shorter life expectancy, it may be better to claim your Social Security benefits at a younger age. Terminally ill patients have a shorter life span than others. In this case, delaying your benefits does not benefit you. You will lose out on your life’s savings. Social Security benefits can be helpful in covering your healthcare-related expenses, such as hiring long-term care, house help, ambulance costs, nurse care, hospitalization, and more. It can offer you better peace of mind and help you live a better life.

4. You have too much debt:

While it is never advised to carry debt into retirement or old age, there may be times when you have to resort to loans and mortgages to get by. A financial emergency, a loved one in need, funding your child’s education through student loans, etc., are common for people in their 60s. In such a case, it may be advised to claim your Social Security check to pay off your high-interest debt. Debt can be detrimental to your financial well-being and more so for older people. The older you are, the more challenging it becomes to find a job or any other source of income to clear your liabilities. Therefore, consider using Social Security to end your debt obligations in your 60s, so you can move to improved financial security in the later years of retirement.

5. You got laid off:

A lot of companies get rid of employees when they grow older. The need to make way for a younger workforce is imminent in the corporate and public sectors. Despite wanting to work well into your 70s or later, there is a significant chance of being asked to retire in your 60s. Factors like recession can also affect your employment status. If you get laid off, your retirement planning can be negatively affected. It can be hard to find a job at an advanced age. Moreover, as stated above, your health may not permit you to work longer anyhow. Social Security benefits can be the only option in these cases.

6. You are worried about Social Security benefits being fully depleted:

According to the Social Security Administration, Social Security benefits are expected to run out by 2034. The data was published in the 2021 annual report from the Social Security board of trustees. The same report that was published in 2020 indicated that benefits are likely to run out by 2035. There has been a one-year jump in the predictions, which is worrying for retirees as these estimations can again change. If this happens, annual taxes will be able to cover approximately 78% of the benefits each year only. One of the reasons for depleting benefits can be attributed to longer life expectancies. There has been an increase in the number of retirees. By 2035, people aged 65 and older are estimated to be more than 78 million. This group at present stands at 56 million. With more people taking out money, the system is likely to collapse, and you may receive lower Social Security benefits later than you would today.

Given these statistics and predictions, it may be better to claim your Social Security benefits today than later.

7. You want to use your Social Security benefits to make more money:

You may quit your job in retirement, but you can still earn money. Investments can help you generate income for the future. Considering that your retirement can last as long as 25 to 30 years, it is essential to continue investing your money. However, you need money in order to make money. Therefore, you can claim your Social Security benefits and use them to invest in the stock market. You can also consider investing in real estate or any other option that offers you a good stream of money. 

Further, you may consider starting a business in retirement. With the internet boom and the rise of e-commerce stores, it is becoming increasingly common and easy to become an entrepreneur. The investment is relatively small and can be taken care of with your Social Security benefits check. A lot of people also put off entrepreneurship due to work commitments and time constraints. However, retirement can be the ideal time to test things out. In this case, the lack of money to invest in a business can be overcome with Social Security. 

8. You are working on a part-time basis:

Your income and employment status can impact your Social Security benefits check. As of 2022, if you are under the full retirement age, your check will be decreased by $1 for every $2 you earn over $19,560. If you have reached your full retirement age in 2022, you lose $1 of your benefits for every $3 that you earn over the limit of $51,960. If you have a full-time job, your income would be higher. However, a part-time job would likely have a smaller income. This way, you can work and earn and keep your Social Security benefits as well.

9. You do not have any dependents:

If you do not have any family members, such as a spouse, children, or other dependents, who may be relying on your benefits, you can consider withdrawing your Social Security benefits early. Typically, your surviving spouse and disabled child get your Social Security benefits in the unfortunate event of your death. Spouses are eligible to receive between 71.5% and 100% of your benefits, and a disabled child can get up to 75% of your monthly check. If you are looking out for your dependents and are concerned about their welfare in your absence, delaying your benefits can make sense. It can offer your beneficiaries a financial cushion. However, with no one to take care of you, it may be better to claim your money and enjoy it while you can. 

10. You have already had your 35 highest-earning years:

In order to qualify for Social Security benefits, you must work for at least ten years with a total of 40 work credits. The maximum benefit that you can receive as of 2022 is capped at $4,194. If you have worked for more than 35 years, your Social Security benefits are calculated by adding up the income of your 35 highest-paid years. If you have not had your 35 highest earning years yet, you can continue working full-time or part-time in order to boost your earnings and subsequently receive a higher check. However, if you have already had your best earnings for 35 years, you can go ahead and start withdrawing your benefits. The benefit will be relatively smaller, but you will not miss out on the chance to boost your earnings.

What happens when you withdraw Social Security at 62 vs. 67 vs. 70

Before you make any decisions to withdraw your Social Security benefits, it is essential to understand how your check gets impacted. The decision to draw your funds can greatly affect the value of your benefits, as you can see below:

  • If you withdraw minimum Social Security benefit at 62, you will receive per the value of your Social Security fund.
  • If you withdraw your Social Security benefits at the age of 67, you will get 108% of the monthly benefit.
  • If you withdraw your Social Security benefits at the age of 70, you will get 132% of the monthly benefit.

Your benefit can increase by 8% every year you delay or postpone beyond your full retirement age. Evidently, there can be benefits to delaying your checks. However, it also makes sense to claim them early if you have an immediate need. 

To conclude

Delaying your Social Security benefits or not is your personal decision. There is no specific rule that states otherwise. However, no matter what you choose, make sure you understand the tax liabilities and future repercussions of your decisions. Making decisions without thinking or proper evaluation can harm you financially and disrupt your peace of mind.

Therefore, consider talking to a professional, such as a financial advisor, before you decide. This can help you make error-free decisions backed by facts and logic. Use Paladin Registry’s free advisor match tool and get matched with 1-3 qualified financial advisors who may be able to help you with your unique financial goals and requirements. All you need to do is answer a few simple questions about yourself and the match tool will help connect you with advisors suited to meet your needs.

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