Early Social Security Claimers Have No Regrets

The Journal Of Aging Studies conducted several focus groups in Los Angeles, Virginia and Washington, D.C. (click here) of early retirees who claimed their Social Security benefits earlier than their Full Retirement Age (FRA). Of the group “about 45% claimed Social Security at age 62, and about 65% claimed before Full Retirement Age (ages 65–66)

We might expect that older adults may regret early claiming, since this can result in lower financial security in later life. Respondents reported satisfaction with their decisions to claim relatively early. Most noted that they “made the right decision given their circumstances at the time.” Reasons for the decision included liquidity constraints and longevity concerns. People reported that were circumstances different they would have chosen to claim later. We also found evidence that having more information and being better prepared at the time of claiming increased satisfaction levels.

All of the early retirees had many of the same reasons for claiming SS early. The main reason was financial (lack of future income or very little money saved for retirement). The second largest reason was due to health. Most didn’t think they were going to live that long so the sooner they collected the better it would be for the remainder of their lifespans.

In the majority of the cases, most early retirees cited they did not regret their decisions, based on their circumstances at the time. Most people were content with when they pulled the lever. The retirees often said the decision was highly personal, and unable to bend to any broad prescription.

early retirementFull disclosure: both my husband and myself took early Social Security benefits at age 62. My husband for health reasons (he has a genetic heart disorder). Me? I just wanted my money now. The difference for me between 62 and 66 were mere pennies in retrospect. I’m a very thrifty gal. Just give me the money, regardless of the amount, and I’ll make the money perform magic tricks. When you live a debt free life, inflation can be conquered by simply cutting back. Or by making very wise investments that pay you dividends or monthly interest payments.

Just remember, from 62 to 65, no Medicare deductibles are taken out of your Social Security check. For some, that’s an extra $135 a month (or so, depending on total annual income) for three years. For me, that was an extra $5,000 I was able to put away in a savings/investment account as a special retirement cushion. Plus it forced me to learn how to live on less, which was coming my way once I turned 65 and my Medicare kicked in. Throw in a few yearly COLAs (Cost Of Living Adjustments…..which I hear, is going to be 3% for 2019!) and my income balances itself out. I’ve made it all work out for the both of us.

No regrets.

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9 comments

  1. I too am planning on taking it a 62, in June 2019, my DH did as well and he has no regrets. They “break even” point between taking it at 62 vs FRA is quite small and the future is not promised. I just hope that the government does not decide to cancel the ability to take it out at 62. I have only 10 mos to go and could really use it NOW.

    Teri

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    • Teri, don’t worry. They will NOT be touching that 62 age. For now. You’re safe. But I have no idea what it will be like for my children when it comes their time to retire. No inheritances here being passed down any time soon.
      Thanks for your comment.

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  2. I loved your sentence, “just give me the money and I’LL make the magic happen.” So true. I also took at 62. Didn’t have to, just wanted to.

    A constant joke in our house is making sure we spend the last nickel on the day before we die. Don’t want those ingrates gettin’ a dime. 😀

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    • Anne, we have yet another thing in common: spending the last nickel on the day before we die. Hopefully, if things go well, the check my kids write to the undertaker, bounces.
      Thanks, as always, for your comments.

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  3. I did the math. I have to live to be about 82 to reach a break-even point to make up for the years between 62 and 66 when I could have been collecting SS but did not. That doesn’t include the money I could have made if I had invested the money. People tell you that your payment will increase 8 percent a year for every year you delay, which is true, but nobody factors in the amount you forgo by not collecting all those early years.

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    • Bonnie. It’s true. If we live till the expected age Social Security estimates we will live until, the money works out to be the same amount received if we retire at 62 (as opposed to their calculated FRA).
      Thanks for your comment.

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  4. Hi Cindi, Wow! You have been quite busy writing. I took the railroad widow pension at sixty with my DH having over thirty years of service, I had no reduction from what he would have gotten at age 60. It was more then I needed so the excess I saved. Before I did this, I did numerous calculations on different scenarios and taking it early and saving some was going to give me more yearly income at 66 from the interest and dividends for the rest of my life, then what I would get from the government by waiting. It was absolutely the best decision I have made In widowhood besides paying off all the debt incurred for funeral and medical expenses, and the home equity loan we took to help the kids through college. So for twelve years now as a widow, I have had no interest payments to anyone. I choose to give treats and fun experiences to my family and friends while I am living and not really concern about how much is left as inheritance. My parents did this and they enjoyed sharing great times with their grandchildren and I am too.
    Sincerely, Lara Grand

    Liked by 1 person

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