Social Security Retirement Age

The social security retirement age in the United States of America has been amended in 1983. The full retirement age or normal retirement age is gradually increasing, according to the year you were born. For people born after 1959 the normal retirement age is 67.

This sliding scale seems to cause mild confusion among visitors to this Website. The trend to increase the full retirement age is not limited to the United States of America only. It is happening all over the world. The primary reason for this is the improvement in the health of older people and the increase in average life expectancy.

What remains constant is that you may start receiving your Social Security benefits as early as age 62. However, your benefits will be reduced for every month before your normal retirement age. You can however postpone to start receiving your Social Security benefits as late as age 70 to receive the maximum retirement benefit.

This Website is about retirement planning and Social Security is not a retirement plan. I would thus be reluctant to offer an opinion on the pros and cons of when to start your Social Security retirement benefits.

For retirement planning you would want to retire with the largest possible amount in your retirement savings accounts. To last you thirty years of retirement. So, under normal circumstances, you might want to consider postponing your retirement as long as possible.

With Social Security you don't have this constraint. The reason your benefits are reduced when you start receiving benefits before your normal retirement age is that you are going to receive these benefits for a longer time – based on your average life expectancy.

If you wait for maximum retirement benefits and start receiving benefits at age 70, you'll receive substantially more per month. But statistically you'll receive the same total benefit during your expected life time.

I would recommend that you visit your local Social Security office in person before you decide when to start receiving your benefits. Consider your situation to be unique and understand the dynamics of taking your benefits early.

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