Thinking about retirement? You can start collecting Social Security benefits at age 62, but this will result in a reduction of up to 30% in your monthly payment. Full retirement age ranges from 66 to 67, depending on birth year, and delaying collection until after full retirement age will result in an 8% increase in benefits for each year of delay, up to age 70. Consider your health, financial situation, and expected lifespan when deciding when to start collecting benefits.
The Earliest You Can Start Collecting Retirement Benefits
As you approach retirement age, you may be wondering when you can start collecting Social Security benefits. The earliest age you can start collecting retirement benefits is 62, but there are some important things to consider before you decide to apply.
When Can I Collect Social Security?
You can apply for Social Security benefits once you reach 61 years and 9 months of age. However, if you start collecting before your full retirement age (FRA), your payment will be reduced. Your FRA is determined by your birth year, and it ranges from 66 to 67 years old.
If you start collecting at age 62, your benefits will be reduced by up to 30%. For example, if your full retirement age is 67 and your monthly benefit would be $1,500, starting at age 62 would result in a monthly benefit of only $1,050.
On the other hand, if you delay collecting Social Security benefits until after your full retirement age, your benefit amount will increase. For each year you delay, your benefit will increase by 8%, up to age 70. So, if your full retirement age is 67 and you delay collecting until age 70, your monthly benefit will be 24% higher than it would have been at age 67.
Can I Retire at 61?
Now that you know when you can start collecting Social Security benefits, you may be wondering if you can retire at 61. The answer depends on your personal financial situation.
Retiring at 61 means you will need to have enough savings to cover your expenses until you can start collecting Social Security benefits. You may also need to consider other sources of retirement income, such as a pension or investments.
To determine if you can retire at 61, you should create a retirement budget and calculate your retirement income. Consider factors such as your current expenses, healthcare costs, and potential changes in income.
Factors to Consider
When deciding when to start collecting Social Security benefits, there are several factors to consider. These include your health, your financial situation, and your expected lifespan.
If you have health issues that may shorten your lifespan, it may make sense to start collecting Social Security benefits earlier. However, if you are in good health and expect to live a long life, delaying benefits may result in a higher overall payout.
Your financial situation is also an important factor to consider. If you have enough savings to cover your expenses until you can start collecting benefits, you may be able to delay benefits and receive a higher payout. However, if you need the income to cover your expenses, you may need to start collecting benefits earlier.
The earliest age you can start collecting Social Security benefits is 62, but it may not be the best choice for everyone. If you are considering retiring at 61, you should carefully evaluate your financial situation and consider factors such as your health and expected lifespan. By doing so, you can make an informed decision about when to start collecting Social Security benefits and enjoy a comfortable retirement.
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