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Social Security question
Old 07-19-2012, 10:56 AM   #1
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Social Security question

My plan is to retire at age 60. I can take Social Security beginning at age 62, and I know that you don't HAVE to take SS until much later. My question is, if you are are completely done working at 62 or whatever age you stop working beyond 62, do you have to take SS then? If I wait to take it until 65, I'll get more per year, even if I don't work between 62 and 65, so I need to know if I CAN just live off of my own investments until 65 and then begin to take SS then.
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:26 AM   #2
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Yes, you can take it whenever you feel like it, up to age 70. Even then, no one will force you, you just don't get any more for waiting. Many of us will retire early and delay SS to maximize benefits. It's generally a good thing to do.
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Old 07-19-2012, 12:40 PM   #3
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Yes, you can take it whenever you feel like it, up to age 70. Even then, no one will force you, you just don't get any more for waiting. Many of us will retire early and delay SS to maximize benefits. It's generally a good thing to do.
Good. I thought that was the case, but I just wasn't sure. Thanks.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by LeavingOhio View Post
My plan is to retire at age 60. I can take Social Security beginning at age 62, and I know that you don't HAVE to take SS until much later. My question is, if you are are completely done working at 62 or whatever age you stop working beyond 62, do you have to take SS then? If I wait to take it until 65, I'll get more per year, even if I don't work between 62 and 65, so I need to know if I CAN just live off of my own investments until 65 and then begin to take SS then.
Remember the age you can receive full social security benefits is not 65 but at least 66, depending on your year of birth:

1943--1954: 66
1955: 66 and 2 months
1956: 66 and 4 months
1957: 66 and 6 months
1958: 66 and 8 months
1959: 66 and 10 months
1960 and later: 67

http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/retirechart.htm
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:13 AM   #5
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I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I think my question is related enough to ask it here.
My SS statement shows my benefit at 62, 66 (FRA), and 70. What I want to know is this: If I stop working at 61 but wait till 66 to collect do I get a benefit less than what I would get at 66?
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:18 AM   #6
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I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I think my question is related enough to ask it here.
My SS statement shows my benefit at 62, 66 (FRA), and 70. What I want to know is this: If I stop working at 61 but wait till 66 to collect do I get a benefit less than what I would get at 66?
The SS calculation assumes you will continue earning your current income until age 62. If you stop working at age 61 your SS will be a couple of dollars less than the amounts shown.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:05 AM   #7
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You never HAVE to take social security. You cannot get retirement benefits before you turn 62, but after that, it's your choice if you want to apply for the benefits, and it's your choice when to apply for the benefits, no one will force you.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:46 AM   #8
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You never HAVE to take social security. You cannot get retirement benefits before you turn 62, but after that, it's your choice if you want to apply for the benefits, and it's your choice when to apply for the benefits, no one will force you.
True. And if you are married, you can take advantage of options that will allow you (and DW/DH) to maximize your total benefits beyond just what you (alone) would receive.

It takes a bit of "study" to determine what option would make sense for you, in your situation. It's not an automatic response/action.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:41 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Animorph View Post
Yes, you can take it whenever you feel like it, up to age 70. Even then, no one will force you, you just don't get any more for waiting. Many of us will retire early and delay SS to maximize benefits. It's generally a good thing to do.
While I plan to wait to 70 and agree it is generally a good thing to do, one exception would be if one is single and in poor health or has poor longevity in the family, then it may be preferable to start drawing at FRA or at 62. Or if your you are married with poor health/poor longevity and your spouse's benefit based on his/her work record will exceed the spousal benefit based on your work record.
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:23 AM   #10
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The SS calculation assumes you will continue earning your current income until age 62. If you stop working at age 61 your SS will be a couple of dollars less than the amounts shown.
That may or may not be true.

The fine print says that SS uses your highest 35 years of income to calculate your benefit. Also keep in mind that SS has an income cap that it keeps track of. If your income is greater than the cap in any year then there is no increased benefit for that year.

So if working from 61 to 62 doesn't up the highest 35 years calculation there will be no reduction in benefit.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:50 PM   #11
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The SS calculation assumes you will continue earning your current income until age 62. If you stop working at age 61 your SS will be a couple of dollars less than the amounts shown.
I probably confused the issue by mentioning age 61. So, I'll restate my question with an example.
Let's say my SS statement indicates I'd get $1500/mo. if I stop working at 62. And, it says I'd get $2000/mo. if I stop working at 66.
My question: What do I get if I stop working at 62 but wait until I'm 66 to collect? Do I get $1500 or $2000?
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:06 PM   #12
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You would get close to $2,000. As others have stated prior, there are various issues that would tweak the final number.
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:29 PM   #13
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They do have an on line calculator that lets you manually type in your earnings history, then you can put 0's in . They use 35 years of earnings, if you have less than that losing a year will result in a 3% drop in your benefit per year (approx) So if you already have the 35 years in , having a 0 in for one year may have no effect.
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:35 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by racy View Post
I probably confused the issue by mentioning age 61. So, I'll restate my question with an example.
Let's say my SS statement indicates I'd get $1500/mo. if I stop working at 62. And, it says I'd get $2000/mo. if I stop working at 66.
My question: What do I get if I stop working at 62 but wait until I'm 66 to collect? Do I get $1500 or $2000?
Your benefit, called the primary insurance amount (PIA), is calculated when you reach retirement age of 62. It is frozen at that point. Even if you continue working, it will not increase and will only change based on cost of living adjustments.

The whole $2000 is the monthly benefit if you wait until full retirement age - 66 1/2. If you want it sooner, it is reduced by 0.55% for each month prior to age 66 1/2. So, at age 62, that would be 56 months early or 31% less. $2000 minus 31% is $1380.

If you wait past age 66/12, it increases by 0.67% for each month you wait, until age 70. At that age the monthly benefit would be 25% more, or $2500.
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