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Categorized | Business

Tools to help you decide when to retire

By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

These days, everyone is taking a new look at their finances — and no one is looking more closely than the millions of baby boomers who are nearing retirement age. While some boomers expected to retire at one of the traditional milestones, such as age 62, the current economy is forcing many of them to re-evaluate their plans. Many are wondering if they should work longer, or how their Social Security benefit – or their spouse’s benefit – would be affected if they continued working.

As most workers know, your choice of a retirement age—from 62 to 70—can dramatically affect your monthly Social Security benefit amount.

If you choose to start receiving benefits early, the monthly payments will be reduced based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach your full retirement age. The rate of reduction will depend on the year you were born.  For example, those born between 1943 and 1954 receive a maximum reduction of 25 percent.

If you wait until your full retirement age, your benefits will not be reduced. If you should choose to delay retirement, your benefit will increase up to eight percent a year from your full retirement age until age 70. However, there is no additional benefit increase after you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits.

There is an online calculator, called the Retirement Estimator, which can provide immediate retirement benefit estimates to help plan for your retirement. To use the Retirement Estimator, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 50 College SE, Grand Rapids MI 49503 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

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