Deciding when to start collecting Social
Security isn't the easy question it used to be. We'd work
until age 65, retire, and apply for Social Security. Not
Now the options are:
+ Collect early at age 62, but at a
+ Work until regular full retirement
age, which now depends on the year of your birth.
+ Delay collecting benefits until age
70, after which there is no addition to the benefit amount.
About 70 percent of us choose early
Social Security. That's because 70 percent of us don't have
enough retirement saved and we need supplemental income, or
there are health issues and we can't work.
Quite a few people collect at age 62 and
keep working. Those who keep working, and still collect Social
Security, will lose $1 for every $2 earned over $12,480 per
So, do we collect early at a reduced
benefit, or keep working and take the full benefit later? The
answer to that depends whom you ask.
Some experts say:
+ It's better not to take early Social
Security because you'll pay what amounts to a 50 percent
penalty if you earn over the limit.
+ Before you sign up to collect benefits
at age 62, calculate whether it's to your advantage to keep
from touching your savings, considering that your Social
Security benefits will be permanently reduced for the rest of
+ There is a good reason to wait and
take the full benefits: Your benefit is calculated using the
highest 35 years of earnings. If you had years with no income
but are now earning good income, that additional income could
add to your benefit when the final calculations are made.
And yet other experts say to take the
benefits as soon as you can get them and invest the money.
There are no easy answers.
Matilda Charles regrets that she
cannot personally answer reader questions,
but will incorporate them in her column whenever
possible. Do not send any material requiring return
mail. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly
Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL32853-6475, or
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