65 Replies Latest reply on Nov 30, 2011 3:01 PM by kmagic22911

    62 - 70 Social Security Strategy

      Does anyone have any "easy to understand" opinion on the titled strategy?
      Thanks!
      Ken
        • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
          JerryD
          Do you mean taking SS at 62 versus 70? We both took it at 62. I have a friend with a working spouse with a good job who is waiting until 70. Your financial circumstances should dictate your strategy.
           
          We had long periods of unemployment and new jobs. We just got tired of looking all the time. We also had savings enough (if just barely) to reach 70 1/2 before touching the other retirement funds. How did we decide? Do the numbers! A spreadsheet can add a lot of concrete to a difficult financial decision. If the numbers work wait until 70. If they don't, then pick some alternative between 62 and 70 that does work and fits with your goals. But remember, waiting on SS can significantly increase your SS payout if you have the health and genes to benefit.
            • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy

              Great Question!   If my memory is correct the surviving spouse must be 62 to claim death benefits. And yes unless the process has changed you may claim first spousal benefits and then later your own benefits upon retirement.   If you do not claim your own benefits until age 70 the monthly increase by more than 8% per year.

                • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                  Greatful
                  A friends's wife died and he was eligible at 60.  The right way to get answers is to ask at SS Office or research it online.
                    • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                      sktn77a
                      Well, my question is simple.......  simple enough that the three times I called SS, I got three different answers!  Here it is:
                       
                      If I retire at 62 but don't start drawing social security until I'm 70, what annual increases (not COLAS) do I get for delaying drawing my SS?  First agent said "you have to keep working until you draw the SS to get any increases" (rubbish!);  the second agent said I won't get any increases until I reach 66 (FRA) and then I would get 8% per year increase until 70 (I don't think the first statement is true but I'm not sure about the second);  and the third said I would get an increase for delaying taking SS from 62 through 66 even though I wasn't working (didn't know exactly how much) and then I would get the 8% per year from 67 through 70. 
                       
                      Anybody know who's right or where I can get the correct answer?
                       
                      Insert thefrowningemoticon.
                       
                       
                        • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                          Jim44
                          I started drawing at 66 last year and am continuing to work until 69 (I teach at a private university and still enjoy my students and colleagues. Not everyone is so blessed, I know). I take the equivalent of my SS and invest it in my TIAA-CREF SRA (Can do up to $22,000 annually with catch-up provisions.)
                            I could have waited until 69 or even 70 and gained 8% per each year I waited (32% more if waited until 70). That was an option I considered. But taking it now and investing puts that money to work now, helps draw down my taxable income, and is there for my wife if anything happens to me. My SS was increased this year about 4% because SS replaced my lowest earning year on record with my 2010 earnings. That is a 4% reduction from what I would be earning through 2010 if I had waited another year to begin collecting, but again I'm investing the money. Seems a financial wash as long as the money gains at least 4% this year!
                            • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                              teetemple
                              I will be 66 next year.  I want to collect my full SS at that time. I plan on working for perharps two years after I start collecting my SS.  I like what you said about investing in my TIAA/SRA.  What were the steps which you took.?  How soon before my birthday which is July
                              should I apply for SS?
                    • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                      collinsg
                      I can probably find this out easily enough, but since you're answering questions, I'll go for it.  If I take ss at 60 (widow benefit) when I reach 66 (my retirement age) can I switch over at that time?  Also if I take the age 60 ss do the work rules apply just like you were taking your own ss?
                        • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                          JerryD
                          Collinsg, SS law as well as most retirement law (IRA, 401, 403, Roth, etc.) is very complex. It seems every time I think I understand yet another exception or scenario pops up. I strongly recommend that you first do as much Internet research (besides SS there are legal web sites that sometimes provide good info) as you can and then go directly to SS by requesting a meeting at your local office to thrash through your specific questions.
                           
                          Good luck!
                            • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                              patapapa
                              JerryD,
                              I'm 70 now and just began a number of projects that will bring me great income for 4~5 years. At 70 must one continue drawing on SS or could it be stopped for a few years and picked up later? I'm paying taxes on about 85% of it!
                              Cliff

                                • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                  JerryD
                                  Cliff, it sounds more like you are trying to avoid paying tax on 85% of your SS due to the fortunate problem of making too much. Whereas I am NOT a SS expert and recommend that you talk to your SS office my understanding is that you are over your full retirement age so none of the SS is forfeited due to other income. Again not an expert but I understand that you can get higher benefits by deferring SS only up to age 70. So other than paying more tax than you would like due to a great income stream seems like continuing SS is the way I would go. Again, SS and retirement law is complex and not well understood by most, including me, I recommend a visit to the local SS office to discuss and verify your assumptions.
                                  • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                    JVKU
                                    Patapapa,
                                     
                                    Remember that you have to withdraw certain % of your IRA and other tax-sheltered monies at age 70 1/2. I realized that the system is set-up in such a way, you either go for a full (lower) SS benefits at age 66 (compared to age 70) or get more and pay more taxes.
                                     
                                      • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                        JerryD
                                        JVKU, you CAN take funds from your retirement at 59 and MUST take prescribed payments at 70 1/2 or face various penalties. I believe that the full SS payout with no reduction is at either 65 to 67 depending on your birth year and you can defer SS until 70 to get a larger benefit depending how long you wait to start.
                                          • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                            LeslieHo
                                            I've had good luck setting up a telephone call - helpful because I'm still working.  If you think that just figuring out when to take benefits based on the usual situation is complex, try dealing with the so-called "Windfall Elimination Provision" that cuts one's benefit by certain amounts based on how long one has worked for an employer (such as some municipalities) that do not pay in to Social Security...
                                    • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                      Garnette
                                       
                                      To Collinsg:
                                      My 60 year old sister-in-law has a hearing loss so I recently assisted her in applying for widow's benefit. She continues to work part time but can not make over $14,000 a year or her SS will be reduced $1 for every $2 she makes over that amount. She was told she can switch over to her own SS at any time after age 62. I would advise talking to a SS rep to decide on the scenario best for you.
                                      • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                        JoyceKelly
                                        Yes, you can....but it would only benefit you if your ss is highter than your husbands.  If you do not take it at your full retirement age, it will keep increasing each year till you are 70 or till you switch over (whichever comes first). 
                                      • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                        Sensei2001
                                        Jerry D said it.  I laid out the major scenarios in a spreadsheet:  (1) retire at 62, (2) retire at 66, (3) retire at 70.  For me, waiting until age 66 would increase my monthly benefit about $500 and waiting until 70 would increase it about another $650 per month.  I ran the numbers out to age 100 and found that the "breakpoint" -- the point at which my total Social Security earnings would be higher if I delayed -- would be roughly age 81.  I then calculated the likelihood of my living past the age of 81 to determine which was a better alternative ...
                                         
                                        ... But here's the rub:  the longer I work, the less likely I'll live past 81 because of the toll job stress takes on me, so the less likely I'll actually collect the additional money.  In addition, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid costs will exceed the funding capacity of the US economy before I reach age 80, so there won't be any money available to me after that time, either way ...
                                         
                                        So the probabilities favor early retirement (age 62) for me!
                                          • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                            thatch
                                            I agree with you.  I retired at age 62 and I am glad I did.  My father worked until he died at age 67, never having collected a dime of SS. I say live life as stress free as possible, and don't always count on the golden egg, you may never get to use it.
                                              • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                Yammy60
                                                I agree with you.  So many people hold off on thing's until some later point in life and never live to take advantage of it.  I had a sister who worked most of her life and died at 60 and her second husband gained all her assests and then remarried two years after her death.
                                                 
                                                Tomorrow is not promised to any of us and the outlook of the fairness of our government does not look good.  Everyday they are taking more and more from the less fortune and giving it to the rich.
                                                 
                                                Live and let God provide the things he promise he would for us.
                                                  • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                    enjoylive
                                                    I agree with you 100%, the future is in God's hand. Taking care of our health is the number 2 priority, believing in God is number 1.
                                                    I am going to enjoy the SS check and do the things I've been wanting to do while I am still alive. The government is NOT going to take care of us, we have to take care of ourselves. I am going to work my business even if I will be deducted $1 out of $2 if I work and get paid more than $14000 a year while getting SS check. God knows with AARP backing government, how much our check will shrink and when it's going to happen.
                                                    • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                      enjoylive
                                                      I agree with you totally. May God protect us.
                                                    • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                      enjoylive
                                                      I agree with you. I am going to be 63 in November. I called SSA and was told that I can apply for SS tomorrow and get paid in January! Wow, I can't wait!! With the government keep printing money and raise debt ceiling, who knows if and how much SS money we are going to get? It's scary to think our government is living with borrowed money EVERYDAY!! I myself have never borrowed money from anyone and debt free (paid off my house, car as soon as I could). Imagine how our next generation is going to live!! SSA keeps changing date about when it's going to run out of money on our social security statement (please compare with previous statements, then you will see). I am glad I already have part time online business that will keep me going and get extra money coming in. Enjoy your life while you are still healthy. I am going to join choir, play piano, travel, etc. It's fun being retired!!
                                                      • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                        enjoylive
                                                        I am going to be 63 in November, I tried to apply for SS benefit, but since I am self employed, I got the answer from SS office that I can't earn more than $14000 annually or I will be taxed $1 out of
                                                        $ 2, therefore I can only get 4 months SS checks next year since I need to pay government back the money first, that's why I withdrew my application. Is it true to you also?
                                                      • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                        lczarne1
                                                        Sensei2001 said...
                                                        Jerry D said it.  I laid out the major scenarios in a spreadsheet:  (1) retire at 62, (2) retire at 66, (3) retire at 70.  For me, waiting until age 66 would increase my monthly benefit about $500 and waiting until 70 would increase it about another $650 per month.  I ran the numbers out to age 100 and found that the "breakpoint" -- the point at which my total Social Security earnings would be higher if I delayed -- would be roughly age 81.  I then calculated the likelihood of my living past the age of 81 to determine which was a better alternative ...
                                                         
                                                        ... But here's the rub:  the longer I work, the less likely I'll live past 81 because of the toll job stress takes on me, so the less likely I'll actually collect the additional money.  In addition, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid costs will exceed the funding capacity of the US economy before I reach age 80, so there won't be any money available to me after that time, either way ...
                                                         
                                                        So the probabilities favor early retirement (age 62) for me!
                                                        Will thought out decision.
                                                        • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                          RD2
                                                          Sensei2001 said...
                                                          Jerry D said it.  I laid out the major scenarios in a spreadsheet:  (1) retire at 62, (2) retire at 66, (3) retire at 70.  For me, waiting until age 66 would increase my monthly benefit about $500 and waiting until 70 would increase it about another $650 per month.  I ran the numbers out to age 100 and found that the "breakpoint" -- the point at which my total Social Security earnings would be higher if I delayed -- would be roughly age 81.  I then calculated the likelihood of my living past the age of 81 to determine which was a better alternative ...

                                                           

                                                          ... But here's the rub:  the longer I work, the less likely I'll live past 81 because of the toll job stress takes on me, so the less likely I'll actually collect the additional money.  In addition, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid costs will exceed the funding capacity of the US economy before I reach age 80, so there won't be any money available to me after that time, either way ...

                                                           

                                                          So the probabilities favor early retirement (age 62) for me!

                                                          I agree with you and Jerry.  I went out at 62 from too much stress at work.  If you can live past 80 or so, and enjoy your work, then stay a while.  But what will be there at a later retirement?  What is you quality of life now and maybe then?  Besides, you can work part-time and make a buck or two at something you enjoy, or volunteer, be creative at a hobby, learn to play music.
                                                           
                                                            • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                              Sensei2001
                                                              RD2 said...
                                                              Sensei2001 said...
                                                              Jerry D said it.  I laid out the major scenarios in a spreadsheet:  (1) retire at 62, (2) retire at 66, (3) retire at 70.  For me, waiting until age 66 would increase my monthly benefit about $500 and waiting until 70 would increase it about another $650 per month.  I ran the numbers out to age 100 and found that the "breakpoint" -- the point at which my total Social Security earnings would be higher if I delayed -- would be roughly age 81.  I then calculated the likelihood of my living past the age of 81 to determine which was a better alternative ...

                                                               

                                                              ... But here's the rub:  the longer I work, the less likely I'll live past 81 because of the toll job stress takes on me, so the less likely I'll actually collect the additional money.  In addition, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid costs will exceed the funding capacity of the US economy before I reach age 80, so there won't be any money available to me after that time, either way ...

                                                               

                                                              So the probabilities favor early retirement (age 62) for me!

                                                              I agree with you and Jerry.  I went out at 62 from too much stress at work.  If you can live past 80 or so, and enjoy your work, then stay a while.  But what will be there at a later retirement?  What is you quality of life now and maybe then?  Besides, you can work part-time and make a buck or two at something you enjoy, or volunteer, be creative at a hobby, learn to play music.
                                                               
                                                              You hit that nail squarely on the head!  Right after I retire I'm going to enroll in Funk U and learn to play the bass so I can tour with George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars!
                                                              • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                enjoylive
                                                                I agree with you. Have a great living. Don't worry about working for some rich people for your whole life and not able to do whatever you like. I love playing piano and sing. That's what I'll do more.
                                                            • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                              kmagic22911
                                                              A thorny question.   See if you either agree or can knock down the Top 6 Myths About Social Security Benefits and then apply them to your personal situation.
                                                               
                                                               
                                                              If understanding is proper taking SS at 62 restricts participant from participating in future COLAS.  Perhaps I wrong but my information points to that as a fact.
                                                               
                                                              "The COLA is perhaps Social Security's most powerful long-term planning benefit. For an 85-year-old person who started benefits 20 years ago, cumulative COLAs now provide more benefit than the starting benefit itself. Each year, all Social Security retirement benefits are adjusted dollar-for-dollar for inflation, creating a direct offset against inflation (as measured by this index). "
                                                              • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                I recently read of another "new" strategy but I'd like your input.  I am planning on drawing SS at age 66 (unsure about actual retirement yet).  My husband is thinking about 70.  From what I read he can also draw from mine until he is 70 and let his grow and then when he retires switch to his own -- I would also switch to his at that time.  Has anyone else heard or tried this?
                                                                  • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                    tangimoana
                                                                    You should check with Social Security or someone who knows to make sure that you can do this.  I thought I would take advantage of my husband's SS when the time comes as he gets more SS than I am entitled to and so we would have more.  But that turns out NOT to be the case.  I can only convert to his SS if he is dead!  
                                                                    Please double check on this.  I have a ways to go before I will use my own SS (I am 62; he is 68).  He is still working and also using his SS.  Only in that way can he pay the continuing mortgage on his house and also pay his basic bills.  For extras, we draw on my account.
                                                                    • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                      sktn77a
                                                                       I've read that you can do this if you are both Full Retirement Age.  Google "Social Security; File and Suspend".
                                                                      • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                        As I understand it, if both you and your husband are at or beyond full retirement age (66 right now), you could start taking your SS and your husband could take a spousal benefit of 50% of your SS.  When he reaches 70, he can then switch over to his own benefit, which will be larger because he waited.  I'm not sure if you could then switch to your spousal benefit of 50% of his or not, but it would make sense that you could.
                                                                         
                                                                        This will not work if the second of you starts your SS before normal retirement age of 66.  If you apply before you turn 66, you have no choice but to take your own SS based on your work record.
                                                                         
                                                                        My husband started his SS at age 66 because we needed the income.  I will  turn 66 in a few months, and will then start receiving 50% of his SS as a spousal SS.  When I turn 70, I will switch to drawing SS based on my own work record, and it will have increased in the meantime and it will be more than 50% of his.  It's possible that he could then switch to a spousal benefit of 50% of mine, but it our case that would be less than he is receiving now.
                                                                        • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                          LL
                                                                          Yes.  If you and your spouse are entitled to SS retirement benefits, one can file for retirement benefits and the other can file for "spousal" benefits and receive about 50% and wait until age 70 to switch to collecting personal benefits--which by then will be considerably higher than they would have been earlier.  If you are 62 and not working, you are subject to the earning limitations that apply before full retirement age of 66, however, since you are not working that isn't an issue.  When you are 70, you both get full retirement until one of you dies, and the widow(er) can choose the higher one.
                                                                          You can do an online search for this information which was detailed in an article.  I read this in the Memphis Commercial Appeal about 2 months ago and contacted the local SS office to check it out.  All true.
                                                                        • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                          jkom51
                                                                          Answers here to two questions from above:
                                                                           
                                                                          1) kmagic's assumption that retiring early eliminates any COLA adjustments is not correct. Retiring before your full retirement age reduces your payout approx. 8% for each year SS is taken before your full retirement age.
                                                                           
                                                                          Future COLAs are paid on this reduced monthly SS payout. It is (for example) 2% of your current $xx check, not 2% of what you would have gotten had you waited until full or delayed retirement age.
                                                                           
                                                                          Thus, the largest possible payout of SS is in waiting until you are 70 to claim, because you will have the maximum payout upon which the COLAs are based - assuming that Congress doesn't change the rules, which is by no means assured now that AARP has swung to supporting a reduction in SS benefits paid to reduce the deficit.
                                                                           
                                                                          As a simplistic example: if I retire early and receive $100 SS, my 2% COLA is $2. But if I wait until age 70 and receive $200 SS, that 2% COLA is worth $4 - much more.
                                                                           
                                                                          2) >>If I retire at 62 but don't start drawing social security until I'm 70, what annual increases (not COLAS) do I get for delaying drawing my SS?>>
                                                                           
                                                                          Every year, around May, you get a written estimate of benefits from SS. Have you looked at it? It will give you an estimate for benefits taken at ages 62, full retirement age, and 70. Because there is a delay in reporting End/of/Year salaries earned, the estimates are usually on a 2-yr delay (e.g., 2011 shows earnings up to 2009).
                                                                           
                                                                          If you do not yet have your current mailing, you can contact SS and they can order you another copy. They are estimates because no hard figures can be given to you until you actually begin receiving benefits.
                                                                            • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                              JerryD
                                                                              jkom, did I just read that SS has stopped the annual statements for some or all? I don't think that would be for those already getting SS because they need to inform them of their next year's benefit.
                                                                                • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                  jkom51
                                                                                   
                                                                                  (However, the basic info can be found using the SS Estimator on their website, as indicated.)
                                                                                   
                                                                                  (Article Excerpt) "The annual Social Security benefit statement, which contains a summary of an individual’s earnings history and estimated retirement benefits at various ages, generally arrives about three months before the worker’s birth month. “So folks born in July will likely be the first ones who won’t get the annual statement (due to the budget stalemate in Congress, no funds have been authorized),” Lassiter says. However, workers can still get an estimate of their projected retirement benefits based on their actual work history at www.ssa.gov/estimator.

                                                                                  The agency began mailing annual Social Security statements to 125 million workers age 25 and older in 1999, at an annual cost of about $70 million. Last year, it mailed statements to more than 158 million Americans. Over the past decade, the annual statement has become an essential part of personal financial planning, supplying critical information about future retirement income and serving as a stark reminder of the need for personal savings to supplement those benefits.

                                                                                  Lassiter says the Social Security Administration hopes to resume mailing annual statements next fall, but only to Americans age 60 and older who are not currently receiving benefits. “The long-term plan is to allow the public to access the statement online,” he adds. “We’re working hard, but we don’t have a timetable yet.”

                                                                                  The individual statements contain more information than is currently available from the online Social Security Estimator tool, such as annual earnings history and estimates of disability and survivor benefits.

                                                                                  The agency estimates it will save $30 million by suspending mailings for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends in September, and will save an additional $60 million next year by restricting mailings to workers 60 and older."

                                                                              • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                MyraJ
                                                                                I'm in a dilemma and need help.  I'm 62 and my employment position was recently terminated.  I'm thinking of taking my SS early.  My question is this:  If I start getting SS at age 62 and then  I get another job that pays more than $14,000, can I reverse my decision and then wait until I'm 66 and get full benefits?  How much (if anything) do I have to pay back? 
                                                                                • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                  TimG
                                                                                  The answer to this question depends upon one's circumstances. Here is what I plan to do.  I am 62 and plan to work until 70, and collect benefits then (Statistically, only a very small number of SS recipients do this).   My reasons are:
                                                                                   
                                                                                  (1)  I enjoy the work I do (teaching at a Community College)
                                                                                   
                                                                                  (2)  I'm healthy and my family is long-lived (my dad is 89 and my grandparents lived into their 80s and 90s)
                                                                                   
                                                                                  (3)  My wife is 10 years younger and if I die first, she will continue to  receive my full benefits
                                                                                   
                                                                                  (4) The amount of lifetime monthly benefits for life is 32% higher than the amount received at age 66, with a break-point of age 81
                                                                                   
                                                                                  (5) By working until 70 it increases my retirement savings and SS benefit to provide a more comfortable financial cushion for retirement.
                                                                                  • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                    Gregorio46
                                                                                     
                                                                                    Remember that if you work longer, you and your employer will continue to be making contributions to your retirement fund.  This should also be included in the financial analysis.
                                                                                    • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                      TomB
                                                                                      A caution:
                                                                                       
                                                                                      Many folks in education, etc. may be subject to the "Windfall Elimination Provision" [WEP] under Social Security. That is, if one is eligible for a pension [in ANY amount] based on "non-covered" earnings, the WEP applies to your benefit.
                                                                                       
                                                                                      Full details at:
                                                                                       
                                                                                       
                                                                                      Note:
                                                                                       
                                                                                      The Windfall Elimination Provision does not apply to survivors benefits.  However, benefits may be reduced for widows or widowers because of  another provision of the law. Ask for Government Pension Offset (Publication No. 05-10007).
                                                                                      • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                        Puchert
                                                                                        My husband collects SSD since 2006.  Since then I have been trying to lower our expenses so that I can retire.  I am 63 but don't know if it is better for me to wait to 66 (which is my maximum age) to retire.  What would be the difference monetarily if I retired now versus at age 66?
                                                                                        • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                          Canoejh
                                                                                          Ken:
                                                                                          Your asking a very specific question tailored to your circumstance, this is something only you can answer.  Generally if you have cash or income to cover what would be SS payments you might want to delay those benefits until 66 to increase the monthly payments.  We have no guaranteed life span, so you also want to get back what you contributed to SS over the years.  If you think you will live into your 90's then delaying payments, assuming you have your own funds to make-up for SS or can live without SS payments, might be an option. Just keep in mind how much you paid in and how long on a monthly basis it takes to get it back, with interest.  The average man lives to ~78, you need to do the math.
                                                                                          • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                            MortSipress
                                                                                            My wife and I, state univ. faculty in Wisconsin, did some calculations when we passed age 60.  It became clear that at age 62 our pension plus social security would be higher than the income from cntinuing to work.  It was a no brainer.  Wisconsin was going through a period of wage freezes in some years and minimal raises in others.  That trend has continued for more than a dozen years.  Even with higher benefits at a later retirement age, we were losing significant income by working than by retiring.  Retiring while young enough to enjoy it was the right decision.
                                                                                              • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                                enjoylive
                                                                                                I also worked at a community college nearby in New York 10 years ago, I totally agree with you. The mayor is trying to lay off 3000 teachers, more librarians are laid off, the fire department will be closed in many locations. There is no guarantee what the situation will be. So, enjoy the benefit while we still can get. 
                                                                                              • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                                TomB
                                                                                                It's always best to figure out the results in the context of one's own situation. Major factors are when do you want to stop earnings from work above the thresholds of offset. This is a decision that is always influenced by health and enjoyment of the work (or not) as well as by considerations of spouse's age and eligibility. 
                                                                                                 
                                                                                                In my own case, I have delayed receiving my Social Security retirement until at least 2012 because my wife is still working full time through 2011, and I think the extra taxes on my Social Security would just make the difference because of our income bracket. If not working and not in superb health, it is generally better to take the benefit as soon as you can because you will never lose the benefit you receive, but you DEFINITELY have to make it to the break even point for delay to be to your advantage. If you don't need it to live on, invest it to minimize the effect of the smaller amount over a longer period of time.
                                                                                                • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                                  gfelton
                                                                                                  Life is short. If you are able to collect now, go for it!  A few friends of mine died before reaching retirement age.
                                                                                                  • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                                    Sensei2001
                                                                                                    I think I've posted in this discussion before, but I didn't want to search all 60+ messages to be sure.  And I know that my perspective and goals for "retirement" have changed since my last post ...
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    Previously, I was thinking in terms of "working" versus "retirement", and it occurred to me in the past couple of weeks that I was looking at the issue wrong.  Whether I start to draw Social Security at age 62, 66, or 72, I will not stop working.  Whether it's working in my garden, selling junk on the Internet, teaching part-time, doing community service, or whatever, I will still be working.  So it's not a matter of working versus retirement; it's a matter of working for them or working for me!
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    So now my plan is to start drawing my Social Security -- MY Social Security, that I have faithfully paid into under threat of imprisonment for the past 40+ years; not an "entitlement program", by the way! -- the day I stop working for them and start working for me.
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    The sooner the better!
                                                                                                      • Re: 62 - 70 Social Security Strategy
                                                                                                        sswart
                                                                                                        Sensei2001 said...
                                                                                                        I think I've posted in this discussion before, but I didn't want to search all 60+ messages to be sure.  And I know that my perspective and goals for "retirement" have changed since my last post ...
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        Previously, I was thinking in terms of "working" versus "retirement", and it occurred to me in the past couple of weeks that I was looking at the issue wrong.  Whether I start to draw Social Security at age 62, 66, or 72, I will not stop working.  Whether it's working in my garden, selling junk on the Internet, teaching part-time, doing community service, or whatever, I will still be working.  So it's not a matter of working versus retirement; it's a matter of working for them or working for me!
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        So now my plan is to start drawing my Social Security -- MY Social Security, that I have faithfully paid into under threat of imprisonment for the past 40+ years; not an "entitlement program", by the way! -- the day I stop working for them and start working for me.
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        The sooner the better!
                                                                                                        I did just that at age 63 and could not be happier! Still teach one class online, so I am not limited by geography any more. Absolutely love it!