You can certainly stop working and retire at any age, but if you’re counting on Social Security retirement benefits to help pay your expenses, you’ll need to wait until you reach the age of 62. But even if you start collecting your retirement benefits at 62, your monthly checks will be less than if you waited until you reached your full retirement age.
Full Retirement Age & Benefit Reductions
The Social Security Administration, or SSA, reduces your monthly retirement benefit by a small amount for each month you receive Social Security benefits before reaching the full retirement age of 67. If you were born before 1938, however, the full retirement age is 65 instead. Suppose, for example, you’re debating whether to start collecting benefits at the age of 62 or 64 when your full retirement age is 67. In both cases, your monthly benefits will be less than if you wait until 67, but the reduction is less substantial if you retire at the age of 64 rather than 62. In other words, the earlier you start collecting Social Security, the lower your monthly benefit will be.
- AID/a.collectionRF/amana images/Getty Images