Americans born in 1956 must now wait until they are 66 and four months to claim the full retirement benefit–a two-month increase over the previous year. This age will increase two months per year until it eventually reaches age 67. Anyone who chooses to receive benefits at an earlier age will face a permanent reduction in monthly benefits. Those who wait until they are 70, on the other hand, can increase their monthly payments.
Unlike Social Security, the age for Medicare eligibility has not changed; to avoid late enrollment penalties, retirees should sign up for Medicare at age 65, if they are not maintaining other health insurance.
Ideally, wait until you are of full retirement age to start drawing Social Security retirement benefits; waiting even a couple months will make a difference in your overall benefits picture.
You can also talk with your financial advisor about the best strategies for your age, lifestyle and needs. Some people prefer to receive payments–even if they are smaller–over a longer period of time, while others appreciate the larger payments.
It is also important to determine how continuing to work in any capacity may affect your benefits and how your retirement age can potentially impact what your spouse would receive upon your death. My Social Security account can provide estimates based on predicted retirement age.
While these changes are not drastic, it always pays to stay up-to-date on the latest regulations and benefits for retirees.
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The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.