Social Security-Take it now, or wait for full benefits?

I am eligible for Social Security next year, since I was born in 1957, and I was wondering if I should take it in 2019, or wait further down the line for the higher monthly payments? Here is the chart for those born in 1957.
We own our home, and I think we can make do if I get a part time job. Frankly, the job I’ve got is wearing me down both mentally and physically, and I think that any extra money I earn if I wait until I’m 66 and 6 months will be going into paying for the aggravated medical condition brought on by working full time those extra years. Also in the back of my mind is the thought that I had better get into the system before some jackass mucks up the system.
What say you?

A friend of mine retired from his regular career job this year at 63, after he had a heart attack that nearly killed him. He will be taking any and all benefits he can get as soon as eligible, as he figures he only has another 20 years of life anyway, and why spend any more of that working? He has other assets that can be liquidated and no children, so there’s that.

I am still a decade+ away from these decisions, but I heavily favor taking SS benefits when you feel it would be good for you, even if that means “early” instead of pegging it to a calendar. You need to look at your life and your health to determine what’s best. IMHO taking less now as opposed to waiting is like buying time.

When do you plan on dying? That’s the question/gamble you are making. And what style of life do you prefer over the immediate next few years - sticking at your current job vs leaving and collecting lower SS bens + part-time job?

I don’t absolutely HATE my current job (which happens to be w/ SS), so I plan on sticking it out to full retirement. But I could change my opinion at any time over the next 8 years or so.

If your job is as unpleasant as you say, I’d say the added $ isn’t worth 5 more years of pain. But you are the only one who can make that decision. You can find all manner of resources to help you try to identify the crossover point - how long you need to live for a monetary advantage one way or the other. But those calculators don’t factor in the quality of your life. You need to take a serious look at the type of funds you might expect which would support what style of life for the rest of yours.

Good luck!

There’s no guarantee that you’ll live to be whatever age you feel you can get the maximum benefits. Sign up for it when you feel the time is right for you.

What are the chances that someone will muck up Social Security in one way or another in the near future?

There are lots and lots of factors to consider. It sounds like you really want to quit your current job, which is understandable, but might present financial hardship. You say you own your home (no mortgage, I assume), but don’t mention pensions or savings. All of those are part of the picture.

Anyway… you might want to visit and use their calculator. You’ll need to do a little homework first to get your primary insurance amount (PIA) from the SS Administration (and your spouses, too, if you are married). This calculator gives you the fiscal and statistical answer to your question, but inherent in the calculation is that you either keep working or spend down savings to hold you over until you file for SS retirement benefits. Sometimes, health issues get in the way of working longer and claiming SS later. I know many people quit working and file for SS at 62 rather than wait until 65/66/67 or 70 (monthly payments continue to increase until you hit 70, when they no longer keep going up), even though it might be smarter to wait.

I’ll be 66 in Jan 2020. I retired in 2011, but I’ve had several temp and now one permanent job since then. I’ll be going to part time next month, but I don’t intend to apply for SS till this time next year.

But I do need to apply for Medicare - I keep forgetting…

The program has to change in terms of contributions and benefits in order to gain solvency. But I think the odds are extremely tiny that it will make much of a difference to someone your age. Any changes will likely involve means testing, higher SS taxes and/or lower benefits, but those will impact young people far more than current or soon-to-be retirees. It also won’t happen overnight, so you should have plenty of time to file (if you are of age to file) before any changes hit the street.

Currently I work a Monday through Friday, I do not get off any holidays that fall on those days, and I get a total of five days of vacation a year…and none of those vacation days can be taken during holidays. If you look at this year’s calendar as an example, you can see that I don’t get to spend too much time on holiday gettogethers. For far too many years I would send the family off to visit friends and relatives while I was stuck at work, and I am thinking that if I spend the next six or seven years resting, travelling and maybe working part time helping others(food pantry, book store or whatever) the decrease in stress and the increase in rest might extend my life by a couple of years.

Whatever is done to Social Security is likely to be based on birth year and unlikely to harm boomers who are near to or already receiving benefits. My humble opinion.

I am three years older than you, and my calculations have always been based on my eligibility for Medicare and the tax implications of working while receiving Social Security. I ruled out retiring before 65 based entirely on the need to retain my employer-based health insurance. I start on Medicare next month (woo hoo!), but I am not going to retire anytime soon. I transferred into a relatively stress-free job at my company a few years ago, so I’m going to work a while longer, certainly until I’m 66, and maybe until I’m 70.

Make sure you understand the tax rules about earning income while collecting Social Security retirement benefits before you do anything.

This can significantly affect the OP’s plan.

Besides the usual “How long are you likely to live, based on your health and how family members did”? Another factor is SS taxes.

SS is taxable. If you have enough other sources of retirement income (pension, IRAs, etc.) then the taxes can be quite noticeable, esp. in regards to marginal rate. So “spreading out” your SS income might be better than waiting. I.e., you’re not paying much taxes while waiting to collect but then they really go up once you do start.

I turn 57 next March and am already prepping to retire at 62.

I also have vested in two pension systems during my career, for which I am very grateful. I know that most people my age can’t say that.

My take is that at 62 I have, essentially, two job offers. I can keep doing what I am doing and make X per year or I can do as I darn well please 24/7 and make 2/3 of that.

Not a very hard decision.

Go the cash, now. No guarantee you, or the program, will be around long enough to make it worthwhile to wait.

Bird in the hand, and all…

That’s my inclination. I’ll run the numbers more closely in seven years and two weeks.

There is a pretty simple calculation on where the break even point would be that doesn’t include inflation and present value of the money. My hope is to be retired before the age of 62 based on my savings anyway. I’ll just do some consulting here and there before that.

I started taking mine at 62. Turns out I could have started taking it when I was 60 because I was already a widow. Anyhoo, the future is uncertain. I wanted the money now. Besides, as a freelancer, I could really use it. I suppose if you are still working and have a six-figure income, waiting makes sense. But I seem to remember reading somewhere that you will never make up the loss, even if you wait until your full SS income. YMMV.

Some things never change.

Forty+ years ago when I was starting my working career, a vocal group at the institute where I worked was advocating leaving Social Security because it would not exist when we retired…

I took it a bit early because I did not want to start spending down my retirement accounts. So far, that has worked out well. My investments have grown more than my SS would have. If my wife outlives me, she will get a smaller benefit than if I had waited until 66 or 70 but that is the only drawback.

This article is a bit old but all but the last paragraph still applies.

That’s not true. The reduced payments every month before age 70 are intended to compensate for how long a person receives benefits. The payments are “actuarilly neutral”, and are based on expected longevity, and the break-even point is around 77 to 80 years old, depending on the amount of your “full” SS payment. If you expect to live longer than that, it makes sense (if you can afford it) to wait to 66/67 or even 70 before collecting. If you don’t expect to live that long, or need SS income to live on, then take it earlier.

Spousal benefits need to be taken into consideration. If your wife outlives you her social security benefit after your death would be increased by any difference between her benefit and your benefit.

So keep working for a few more years without break to get extra money that I will be too tired and/or disabled to appreciate?

My impression entirely.

In the past, my consistent feeling was that folk would do well drawing as soon as possible - based on a limited number of folk who died before they would have reached full retirement age. I’m less firm on that now. Like I said, there are plenty of calculators to figure out how long you need to draw at full retirements to make up for the lower early payments. Then you just have to make your best guess as to your personal health risk factors.

However, as I said before, the $ figures are only 1 aspect. If you HATE what you are currently doing, IMO it ought to have SOME bearing as to how long you want to keep doing it for what payoff. I wonder whether the difference between early and full retirement benefits will be so drastic as to significantly change the overall quality of your retired years - when combined with any other savings/assets/income you might expect.