Your Social Security
It seems like everyone I talked to has a different opinion on when they would be eligible for Social Security. Some younger folks said that they couldn't retire until they were at least 70. A lot of older folks believe that they can't start drawing their Social Security until they reach 65. They are all partially right.
I'm not going to get into whether or not Social Security will survive the next few years. There are too many factors that could save it or destroy it, and most of them live in Washington, DC. I am simply going to give you the current status of your Social Security eligibility.
It is true that there are different full retirement ages depending on when you were born. However, each person payinginto Social Security can start drawing their partial retirementat age 62. The chart below indicates at what age you can retire and receive your full benefits.
Year of Birth
Note: Persons born on January 1 of any year should refer to the previous year.
Full Retirement Age
1937 or earlier - 65
1938 - 65 and 2 months
1939 - 65 and 4 months
1940 - 65 and 6 months
1941 - 65 and 8 months
1942 - 65 and 10 months
1943--1954 - 66
1955 - 66 and 2 months
1956 - 66 and 4 months
66 and 6 months
1958 - 66 and 8 months
1959 = 66 and 10 months
1960 and later - 67
Visit http://www.ssa.gov/retirechartred.htm to see the complete chart of Social Security Full Retirement and Reductions by Age
By the chart above someone born in 1955 can start receiving the full benefits at age 66 years and 2 months. If they choose to retire between age 62 and 66 years and 2 months this benefit will be reduced based on the number of months they retire early.If they chose to retire after age 66 years and 2 months the benefit will increase.
Each person has to decide at what age they want to start receiving their Social Security based on their individual circumstances. Here is something to consider: Based on my own situation, if I wait until I am 66 years old to draw my full Social Security I will be about 72 years old before I draw as much money as I would have if I had started drawing my partial Social Security at age 62. It's something to think about.
Besides retirement benefits, Social Security also covers disability and death benefits. This is a fairly complicated program but it might not hurt to learn as much as you can by visiting the Social Security web site. You can also request a Social Security Statement which includes a record of your earnings history and an estimate of how much you and your employer paid in Social Security taxes Estimates of benefits you (and your family) may be eligible for now and in the future.
Social Security was never intended to be your only source of income after you retire. In most cases your monthly check will only be a fraction of what you were earning before retirement. It would be wise to start a savings and investment program as soon as possible to ensure that you have enough money when retirement rolls around. This link may help get you started: http://beginnersinvest.about.com/mbody.htm
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Terry Rigg is the author of Living Within Your Means - The Easy Way http://www.homemoneyhelp.com/ebookadpage.html and editor of The FREE Budget Stretcher Newsletter and Budget Stretcher web site http://www.homemoneyhelp.com. He has 25 years of experience counseling individuals and families concerning their personal finances.