The Government Accountability Office (GAO) encourages you to hold off taking social security until you reach the full retirement age. If you do take retirement early, you could be missing some extra monthly income.
Over 70 percent of Americans who are eligible for social security started collecting on their benefits before they reached the age of 65. This is based on data collected between 1997 and 2007. Compare that to the number of people that waited until they reached the age of 65 or 66: around 14 percent.
These numbers mean that you’ll either have to save more or work for more years so that you won’t outlive your savings.
The one saving grace right now for those near retirement is that many Americans (nearly 30 percent) over the age of 65 work part- or full-time even after they reach the retirement age. Almost 7 percent of Americans 75 and older are still working, extending their income into retirement.
The GAO recommends waiting until you reach your retirement age to start cashing in your social security. It also suggests that you put some of your savings into an annuity over an employer-sponsored defined-benefit plan.
As of 2011, the age of retirement for social security is 65 for retirees born in 1938. That age increases to 67 if you are born in or after 1960.
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Reference: Ehrenfeld, Temma. “GAO Recommends Retirees Invest in Annuities, Delay Taking Social Security.”