Thinking about early retirement before you start collecting Social Security Benefits?
Doing so won't reduce the benefit that you accrued before you stopped working—but it could produce a smaller benefit than your estimated benefits statement suggests. You should receive an estimated-benefits statement from the Social Security Administration each year. The benefits it projects assume that you continue working to the retirement ages listed (62, 66 and 70) at your current salary.
For example, your statement might say something like, 'If you continue working until your full retirement age (66 years), your payment will be X.'
But, what if you're not working, and don't plan to work again before applying for Social Security benefits? Will you receive the benefit your estimated benefits statement shows, or will it be reduced?
To answer that question, you have to understand how Social Security benefits are calculated. They're based on earnings over your entire career, with income from past years adjusted for inflation. When calculating your benefits, the Social Security Administration looks at the 35 years with the highest adjusted wages. If you have more than 35 years of earnings, your lowest earning years are dropped. If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, one or more of the figures used in the calculation will be zero.
Now, to determine future earnings, Social Security looks at your last two years of income. The problem is, if your statement is prepared in the first six to nine months of the year, your earnings for the previous year won't be included, so the Social Security Administrator will use uses your earnings from the year before as your earnings for last year, this year, and future years. So, in essence, retiring before you start collecting Social Security won't reduce the benefit that you accrued before you stopped working—but it could produce a smaller benefit than your estimated benefits statement suggests.
To get a more precise prediction of future payments based on your recent past, you can request an updated statement from Social Security by filling or use our social security calculator.
[email protected] photography says
Great post i did not know they looked at 35 years i thought it was 10 or 15 years you worked and they took average. Thanks i learned something new about social security i did not realize before.
Thank you for remind me about early retirement. From now, I have to consider about early retirement for my future.
Simple cash payday loan application says
Informative Post and I must add that If you are willing to get good benefits after retirements, better focus on today and better opportunities to earn more with your abilities and skills and then money will follow you
Simple cash payday loan application
John [email protected] planning for retirement says
Very helpful post and great Social Security Calculator tool. Gives me a lot to think about when getting ready for retirement.
Felix Scott says
I realize that drawing down your money early at 62 is a penalty. 75% of some money is better than no money. Can you guarantee me that I will live to be 65 or 70? I have not been able to find full-time work since 2004. I am 61 and I plan to start filing for retirement as soon as possible. I have been homeless and on welfare.