Is Claiming Social Security at 62 a Good Idea or a Bad One? Here's How to Know | The Motley Fool (2024)

Age 62 has long been a popular age to claim Social Security, and for good reason. It's the earliest age you can sign up to start getting your money.

Now you'll often hear that filing for Social Security at age 62 is a poor choice. At the same time, there are plenty of people who will tell you that claiming benefits at age 62 makes a lot of sense.

So who's right? Well, actually, it depends on your personal circ*mstances more so than anything else.

The upside of claiming benefits at 62

Filing for Social Security at age 62 means getting your money as early as possible. But that's the simplified version.

For you, collecting that money at age 62 could mean getting to travel at an age when your health is still strong. It could also mean getting to swap a demanding job for a more enjoyable role that's less harmful to your mental health. Or, it could mean getting to start the business you've always dreamed of running.

Filing for Social Security at age 62 could also end up making sense financially if you're worried you won't end up living a very long life. While you'll shrink your benefits on a monthly basis, by getting to collect that money sooner, you might end up with a higher amount of lifetime benefits.

The downside of claiming benefits at 62

You're entitled to your full monthly Social Security benefit based on your personal income history once you reach full retirement age. That age is 67 if you were born in 1960 or later.

Claiming Social Security before that point will result in a reduced benefit. And if full retirement age for you is 67, then filing at age 62 will mean accepting a 30% hit to your benefits -- for life.

An early Social Security filing could end up hurting you financially if you end up living a long life; you could end up with less lifetime income. Also, the longer you live, the more you risk depleting your savings in your lifetime. So in a situation like that, you'd want a higher Social Security benefit to fall back on, not a smaller one, wouldn't you?

It's a personal choice

There are plenty of good reasons to file for Social Security at age 62, and there are probably just as many good reasons to wait. So if you're about to turn 62 and are wondering whether you should claim benefits or hold off, the key is to run through a few key questions. Specifically, ask yourself:

  • How's my health, and how might it impact my life expectancy?
  • How do I feel about the idea of continuing to work?
  • What will I do with my Social Security income if I start collecting it now?
  • How confident am I that my savings will last throughout retirement?

It's also a good idea to sit down with a financial advisor and see what they say about claiming benefits at 62 versus waiting. Sometimes, an outside perspective can be helpful in arriving at the right decision.

All told, whether claiming Social Security at 62 is a good idea versus a bad one depends on you. Take your time to think things through so you don't regret your choice to file as early as possible or sit tight and wait.

Is Claiming Social Security at 62 a Good Idea or a Bad One? Here's How to Know | The Motley Fool (2024)


Is Claiming Social Security at 62 a Good Idea or a Bad One? Here's How to Know | The Motley Fool? ›

The downside of claiming benefits at 62

What does Dave Ramsey say about taking Social Security at 62? ›

Dave Ramsey said you can claim Social Security at 62 if you're going to invest every dollar. Most retirees can't do this, and many shouldn't even if they can, because investing money you're going to need really soon can be too risky.

Does it make sense to take Social Security at 62? ›

The way Social Security is set up, the longer you wait to collect retirement benefits, the higher your monthly payment. Claiming benefits at age 62 means you will get the smallest possible check. Your check rises yearly past age 62 if you wait to collect.

Is it foolish to retire at 62? ›

There's nothing wrong with that! But plenty of people are. If you're living debt-free, or close to it, and you've already got plenty of assets that can be used for your retirement income, there's no reason to delay your retirement any longer than you need to.

What does Suze Orman say about taking Social Security at 62? ›

As we have discussed, you are eligible to start claiming your benefit when you turn 62. But the benefit you receive at 62 will be permanently lower than if you wait. Every month past age 62 you don't claim your benefit entitles you to a slightly larger payout when you do start collecting your benefit.

What is the average Social Security check at age 62? ›

According to recently released data from the SSA's Office of the Actuary, just over 590,000 retired-worker beneficiaries were receiving $1,298.26 per month at age 62, as of December 2023. That compares to about 2.11 million aged 66 retired-worker beneficiaries who were taking home $1,739.92 per month.

What percentage do you lose if you take Social Security at 62? ›

How Your Social Security Benefit Is Reduced
If you start getting benefits at age *And you are the: Wage Earner, the Retirement Benefit you will receive is reduced toAnd you are the: Spouse, the Retirement Benefit you will receive is reduced to
62 + 1 month70.432.7
62 + 2 months70.832.9
62 + 3 months71.333.1
58 more rows

What is the smartest age to collect Social Security? ›

You can start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. However, you are entitled to full benefits when you reach your full retirement age. If you delay taking your benefits from your full retirement age up to age 70, your benefit amount will increase.

How long does it take to get your Social Security check after you turn 62? ›

15 and you are already over age 62, then your first payment should arrive on the third Wednesday of the month following the month when you apply. If you're already on Social Security or receive both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, then you may receive them on a different date.

Can I draw Social Security at 62 and still work full time? ›

You can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, if you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, we will reduce your benefits. Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, we will not reduce your benefits no matter how much you earn.

What percentage of Americans take SS at 62? ›

And as of 2021, according to the Congressional Research Service, about 30% of Social Security applicants were 62.

What is special about turning 62? ›

Turning 62 is a big milestone for Americans. For many, it marks the end of a long career and possibly the beginning of monthly Social Security checks showing up in their bank accounts.

What happens if I retire at 62 instead of 67? ›

A worker can choose to retire as early as age 62, but doing so may result in a reduction of as much as 30 percent. Starting to receive benefits after normal retirement age may result in larger benefits. With delayed retirement credits, a person can receive his or her largest benefit by retiring at age 70.

What is the #1 reason to take Social Security at 62? ›

1. You're Planning Your End-of-Life Care. Your Social Security benefits stop paying at your death, so if you die before collecting benefits, you'll have missed out on benefits entirely.

What is the down side of taking Social Security at 62? ›

So, the downside is you may be collecting less money, the benefit, however, is that at some point, and there is a calculation to be had here, it's possible that if you collect early and live long enough, you could collect more money than if you delayed and passed away sooner.

How much should a 62 year old have in retirement? ›

By retirement age, it should be 10 to 12 times your income at that time to be reasonably confident that you'll have enough funds. Seamless transition — roughly 80% of your pre-retirement income. This amount is based on a safe withdrawal rate (SWR) of about 4% of your retirement accounts each year.

Should lower earning spouse take Social Security at 62? ›

Social Security Strategies for Spouses

With the first strategy, sometimes called the “62/70 split,” the lower-earning spouse takes Social Security as early as age 62 and the higher-earning spouse postpones filing until age 70 to maximize his or her benefit.

How much does Dave Ramsey say you need to retire? ›

Some folks will need $10 million to have the kind of retirement lifestyle they've always dreamed about. Others can comfortably live out their golden years with a $1 million nest egg. There's no right or wrong answer here—it all depends on how you want to live in retirement!

What is the maximum payout for Social Security at age 62? ›

If you wait until age 70 to claim, the maximum you can receive in 2024 is a whopping $4,873 per month. By claiming at age 67, the highest possible payment is $3,911 per month. And if you take Social Security at 62, the most you can collect is just $2,710 per month.


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