When Early Claiming of Social Security Makes Sense

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By Jeff Young


While much has been written and said to encourage people to consider claiming social security at Full Retirement Age (66-67) or even later, the question remains who should collect benefits as early as possible, age 62?

There are four scenarios where collecting social security at age 62 may make the most sense.

The first is obvious: a person needs the income for basic living expenses.

Second: a single (and not widowed or divorced.) Social Security is relatively accurate and fair from an actuarial point of view so the average single person would receive the same amount over his or her lifetime whenever they happen to begin to collect early or later.

Third: a single person who most likely will not live an average life span or is terminally ill.

Last: an early claim of social security is often a good alternative for the younger and lesser earning spouse. It is probable that the younger member of a couple will live longer, especially if it is the wife. She would assume the monthly benefit of the higher earner at her full retirement age if she were widowed.

Keep in mind that an early claim has reduced benefits associated with it in addition to fewer opportunities for strategies that are available at full retirement age. There are also earnings restrictions that are considered.

If you are thinking of claiming social security early, take some time to determine if it really will benefit you overall.


Jeff Young is a financial planner for First Financial Equity Corporation in Scottsdale, AZ. He presents “Understanding the Basics of Social Security and Medicare” at the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business from 9-11:30 a.m. on the first Friday of each month (locations can vary.) He can be reached at jcyoung@ffec.com.