When Taking Social Security Early Makes Sense: Key Reasons Explained

Arnia
5 Min Read

When planning for retirement, many people are advised to wait as long as possible to claim Social Security benefits to get the highest monthly amount. However, there are times when taking Social Security early can be a smart choice. Let’s look at these situations and understand why claiming early might be beneficial.

Financial Need

Why Claim Early?

One main reason to take Social Security early is financial need. If you don’t have enough savings, you might need the money sooner.

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Expert Advice

Raman Singh, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and owner of Singh PWM, says that sometimes starting Social Security benefits early can help reduce the need to withdraw from other investments. This way, retirees can have enough money to live on without depleting their savings too quickly.

Spousal Benefits

Higher Benefits

Another reason to consider taking Social Security early is if you can collect higher spousal benefits. If one spouse has much higher benefits, it might make sense for the other to start collecting early while the higher-earning spouse delays their benefits for a bigger payout later.

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Special Cases

This can be especially useful if one spouse has a shorter expected lifespan due to illness.

Leaving a Legacy

Saving for Heirs

Some people want to leave money for their children or grandchildren. Taking Social Security early can help reduce the need to withdraw from your investment portfolio, allowing you to save more money to leave as a legacy.

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Baby Boomers

This is a common goal among baby boomers who prioritize leaving something for their heirs.

Health Concerns

Health Issues

Your health is another important factor. If you have serious health issues and don’t expect to live long, taking Social Security early makes sense.

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Financial Support

Raman Singh points out that if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness or have a condition like dementia, starting benefits sooner can provide necessary financial support during a challenging time.

Income’s Effect on Benefits

Working After Claiming

If you plan to keep working after starting Social Security, be aware of the income limits. Earning too much can reduce your Social Security benefits, so it’s essential to understand these rules before deciding.

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Divorce Benefits

Benefits from Ex-Spouse

Don’t overlook benefits you might be entitled to from an ex-spouse. If you’re 62 or older and were married for at least 10 years, you might be eligible to receive between one-third to one-half of your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits.

Choosing the Right Financial Planner

Professional Advice

Deciding when to take Social Security is a big decision, and getting professional advice can help. Raman Singh recommends finding a flat-fee planner who charges by the hour. This way, you avoid long-term commitments and only pay for the time you need.

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Taking Social Security early isn’t a decision to take lightly, as it’s usually irreversible. However, for those with financial need, potential spousal benefits, health concerns, or a desire to leave a legacy, it might be the right choice. Consulting with a financial planner can help you make the best decision for your unique situation.

What is a main reason to take Social Security early?

Financial need, especially if you don’t have enough savings.

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Can spousal benefits be a reason to claim early?

Yes, if one spouse has much higher benefits, the other might start early for a bigger payout later.

How does health impact the decision to take Social Security early?

Serious health issues or a terminal illness can make taking benefits early a smart move.

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What should you know about working and claiming Social Security?

Be aware of income limits, as earning too much can reduce your benefits.

Can you get benefits from an ex-spouse?

Yes, if you’re 62 or older and were married for at least 10 years, you might be eligible for their benefits.

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By Arnia
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A Certified Public Accountant specializing in personal finance and taxation. Arnia engaging writing style and deep understanding of tax codes make her articles a must-read for individuals seeking to maximize their tax savings.
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