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Social Security Full Retirement Age

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I don’t spend a lot of time writing about Social Security because I’m only in my early 30′s. If the topic of Social Security comes up with my friends, it’s usually followed by disparaging comments about how it’s underfunded and won’t exist in thirty years when I’m eligible to start receiving it (which probably isn’t that far off). Sadly, the solvency of Social Security is (mostly) simple math. New workers contribute, older retirees withdraw, and the system works similar to a Ponzi scheme, except everyone knows it. The tricky part comes when you start messing with the contributions, such as with the payroll tax cuts, or you don’t leave the contributions alone.

When the money starts looking tight, you can always start pushing out the “full retirement age.”

Full Retirement Age

Your full retirement age depends on the year you were born. If you were born in 1937 or earlier, your full retirement age is 65. As the years pass, the full retirement age goes up. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, the full retirement age is 66. 1960 and later? Full retirement age is 67. The full retirement age is the age at which you will receive 100% of your eligible benefits if you start taking Social Security then. You can take Social Security payments as early as 62 but the benefits are significantly reduced.

If your full retirement age is 67 then this is how much of your full retirement age benefit you would receive monthly:

  • At 62 – You’d receive around 70% of full benefits
  • At 63 – 75% of full benefits
  • At 64 – 80%
  • At 65 – 86.7%
  • At 66 – 93.3%

If you don’t need the benefits and want to delay it beyond full retirement age, you can get an increase up to the age of 70 (after 70, you can still delay but you receive no increased benefit). If you were born 1943 or later and delayed it for one year, you’d get 8% more (or 2/3rds of 1% on the monthly benefit).

If you can wait, it’s often best to wait until full retirement so you don’t give up your benefits. If you are married, one of you can start taking benefits early while the other waits until full retirement. There are probably plenty of articles out there explaining “Social Security strategy” but they all start with full retirement age.

Hopefully this is something I can worry about in thirty-plus years. :)

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7 Responses to “Social Security Full Retirement Age”

  1. Andy says:

    They can solve the underfunding problem by simply raising the taxable income limit to 500,000.00 It’s currently at 110 At the current rate, A-Rod stops paying Social Security taxes in the sixth inning on opening day!

  2. Sadie says:

    Payroll tax cuts are wrong & a gimmick to make it appear the government is concerned so giving back:
    1. Decreases SS monies for future funding
    2. In the long run, the taxpayor is the looser. The more we pay in during our 30 to 40 yrs of earnings, the more we stand to receive back for the next 20 to 30 years while in retirement.
    3. Sadly people in their 20s to 30s focus only upon their current earnings with little thought to the fact being that the more they earn & pay into SS, the more they may receive in retirement years.

    As to folks waiting 30 plus yrs to be concerned, suggest they consider supplementing their income early in life to garner all the income possible to increase monies paid into their SS. One never knows when SS disability may be needed so best to invest in yourself early in life.

  3. Strebkr says:

    SS is the biggest ponzi scheme in the world. Most public pensions are. This certainly wouldn’t help the system because it relies on money coming in, but I would love to take my contribution and my employers contribution and put it in private account. It would have the same age limitations meaning I couldnt touch it until retirement age, but at least I know something would be there.

  4. daenyll says:

    I’m mid 20s and taking the tax cut funds and putting them in my roth, this way I know what’s happening to my money and I figure I’ll actaully get some of it back when I’ll be needing it rather than rely on years of politicians whims.

  5. billsnider says:

    I currently collect social security. I started to take it at 62. Most people do that. The main reason is that the break even point is about 10-12 years, depending on the interest rates you get.

    That takes me to about 74 before I lose. The lost rate is low the first few years and then begins to accedlerate.

    So why take it at 62? For one the 60′s and early 70′s is when I am still active. So why not enjoy it then? Second reason is longevity. A BIG unknown. Doesn’t do me much good to get more money if I am not alive. I can’t will this money to my kids.

    Bill Snider

    • Strebkr says:

      I can see why people would take the money at 62. It all just depends how the overall situation of the person. Do they have other assets they could live off of in the mean time, how is their overall health, etc?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I thought this article was very helpful…at a glance.

    Thank you.


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