As a retiree, one of your most important decisions will be when to file for Social Security benefits. Why is it so important? Because it’s permanent. Once you file, you can’t undo it, and you can’t change your benefits in the future.
That’s an important point, because your payments can change significantly depending on when you file. For instance, you can file as early as age 62. However, if you file before your full retirement age (FRA), your payment could be permanently reduced as much as 30 percent. Most people reach their FRA between their 66th and 67th birthdays.1
You can also wait past your FRA to file for benefits. If you do, Social Security will actually permanently increase your benefit by 8 percent for every year that you delay until age 70. So if your FRA is age 66 and you wait four years to age 70, you get a permanent increase in your benefit of 32 percent.
It would seem that it always makes sense to wait, right? The longer you wait, the higher your annual benefit will be. In many cases, that thinking makes sense. However, there are some situations in which you may want to take benefits early. Below are three such situations. If these sound familiar, waiting may not be the best strategy.
You have a short life expectancy.
It doesn’t do much good to wait for benefits if you may not be alive to receive them. If you have a medical condition that will likely shorten your life span, it may be in your best interest to take benefits early. After all, that increased payment won’t be much help if you get it for only one or two years.
You need the money.
Perhaps you retired before you were ready, because of layoffs or disability. Or maybe you have significant financial challenges. It may not be a wise idea to put yourself through poverty just to get a higher payout in the future. If you need income and Social Security is the only option, you may want to consider filing early.
You have a lifestyle goal you want to achieve.
Retirement planning isn’t always based on financial decisions. You have plenty of important lifestyle decisions to make as well. Perhaps you’ve looked at the early filing benefit and are confident that it’s enough money for you. Or maybe you have a dream to travel around the world, and you would rather have the early benefit so you can start living your dream as soon as possible.
Greater income is often the right answer in many planning decisions, but not always. If you don’t want to wait to start living your dream, early filing may be the right decision.
The decision of when to file is a complicated one. Here at Gallagher Financial Group in Hurst, Texas, we help retirees make sound, informed decisions on a wide range of challenges, including when to file for Social Security. Contact us today so we can review your needs and objectives. Let’s connect soon.
This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice.
The material is not intended to be legal or tax advice. The insurance agent can provide information, but not advice related to social security benefits. Clients should seek guidance from the Social Security Administration regarding their particular situation. The insurance agent may be able to identify potential retirement income gaps and may introduce insurance products, such as an annuity, as a potential solution. Social Security benefit payout rates can and will change at the sole discretion of the Social Security Administration. For more information, please consult a local Social Security Administration office, or visit www.ssa.gov
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