The age at which you decide that you are ready to start drawing on Social Security makes a huge difference in the amount of benefits you actually receive each month.
In a recent article published by Fox Business News (2/28/11) the mathematics surrounding the decisions were very clear. The age at which you are eligible to receive your “full” benefit has been moved to 66, however, the earliest date you can begin collecting Social Security remains the month that you turn 62.
According to Fox, about 40% of individuals begin to take benefits at 62. This means that starting at age 62, their checks are 25% smaller than if they had waited until age 66 and will remain so forever. In contrast, for each year beyond 66 that you postpone the start of Social Security, the government increases your check by 8% plus each year’s cost of living adjustment. After that point there is no benefit to delaying. If you assume an annual inflation rate of 3%, postponing the start of Social Security until age 70 means that your benefit will increase by 11% compounded over four years. The result of a 50% larger payment than you would have received at age 66.
In a recent study completed by Spectrem Group with individuals over the age of 50, 19% plan to retire before age 60. Thirty five percent plan to retire between the ages of 61-65. Thirty percent plan to retire between the ages of 66 and 70. Six percent will retire over the age of 70. Ten percent will never retire. Accordingly, only a small percentage plan to maximize their benefit.
Interestingly, only 19% of those who plan to retire feel they will never work again for pay. About 37% plan to Work Part Time for “Walking Around Money”. Another 21% will Work Part Time in their Own Field. Another 7% will Work Full Time in a new field and 17% will Work Full Time in the Own Field.
Clearly attitudes toward retirement and the ability to rely exclusively upon Social Security are changing dramatically with a large portion of the Soon to be Retired…..not planning on spending the “Sunset” years basking in the sun.