Should You Start Taking Social Security Retirement Benefits Early?

People approaching retirement age have a choice to make regarding Social Security retirement benefits. Many people choose to start receiving retirement benefits early, which is possible starting at age 62. However, the earlier a person begins receiving benefits, the less he or she gets — up to 30 percent less than the amount the person would receive if he or she waited until full retirement age (66 for current retirees). Then, the longer someone delays retirement up to age 70, the more of a benefit bonus that person gets.

Generally, if a person is in good health and financially secure, postponing benefits as long as possible makes the most economic sense. Some experts say that, all other factors being equal, retirees should think of age 70 as their actual retirement age.

However, there are a number of personal factors that may influence the decision to begin taking benefits. Some may not have the option of waiting due to financial or health concerns, and others argue that taking benefits early allows people to invest their savings wisely, rather than having to use them for living expenses. Ultimately, the decision is the choice of each individual.

The elder law attorneys at Hook Law Center assist Virginia families with will preparation, trust & estate administration, guardianships and conservatorships, long-term care planning, special needs planning, veterans benefits, and more. To learn more, visit or call 757-399-7506.

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