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Retirement Discussions / Retire Well on Less


Subject:  Re: Newbie to this Retirement Board Date:  10/11/2012  12:12 PM
Author:  alstroemeria Number:  1432 of 1742

An illogical thought that refuses to go away is what if I die at age 70 and never get to enjoy retirement?

It may not be illogical, depending on your health conditions--are they mainly annoying and well controlled or serious and apt to shorten your life? (you don't need to post an answer to that-) If I had a life-threatening condition, I'd retire sooner rather than later unless my job was my raison d'être.

Social Security benefits are designed to be actuarially equal no matter what age you start collecting. In other words, you end up with the same total amount of $$$ over the years whenever you retire between age 62 and full retirement age, IF you live an average lifespan. If you live longer, delaying the start of SS works out better financially--much better if you start collecting at 70 and live to 100. But not necessarily emotionally or physically better if you miss years of happy retirement. So whether you retire at 62 or 66 and 4 months or some time in between, you will have collected the same amount of money by age 77-80 (the calculation varies slightly at different amounts). If you live longer, you'll of course do better financially by having retired later, but not necessarily be better off overall.

60% of women and 50% of men start collecting SS at age 62, 75% by their full retirement age, and fewer than 10% wait till age 70 to collect the maximum monthly benefit.

An article on the mathematics of collecting SS at different ages: