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Social Security: Is retiring at 62 a good idea?

Millions of Americans retire and collect Social Security benefits, but there are different ages at which you can retire. This may impact your benefits, but what is best for you may not be for someone else.

social security card with cash, representing social security benefits in retirement

The youngest you can retire is age 62, and the oldest before benefits stop growing is 70.

Many people are urged to avoid retiring as early as 62 due to the cut in benefits, but there may actually be some good reasons to retire earlier.


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Full retirement age and Social Security

The earliest you can retire before you reach full retirement age is 62, but the drop in benefits may be as much as 30%.

Your full retirement age depends on the year you were born, but will be either 66 or 67.

The oldest you can retire before benefits stop increasing is 70.

If you wait from 66 to 70 to retire, you could see an 8% increase for each year you delay claiming benefits.


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When collecting Social Security at age 62 makes sense

The Motley Fool reports a few good reasons for why choosing to retire at the youngest age possible may make sense.

First, if your career abruptly, and unexpectedly, ends then it may be a good option.

You may struggle to find a new job and put yourself into debt instead of just claiming the benefits and moving on.

Another good reason to retire at 62 might be that your health just isn’t great all around.


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If your health is poor and the chances of making it to age 70, or even your full retirement age aren’t likely, it doesn’t make sense to wait.

You may get less each month but you’ll get more payments collectively for the rest of your life.

Finally, you may be entering retirement fully prepared and not actually need the benefits to survive.

Retiring early in this sense would make more sense because if you can survive on things like your IRA or 401k, why not take more time to enjoy retirement?

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