Is Social Security Early Retirement (between age 62 and your full retirement age) the right thing for you? It may not be right for you if the early benefit amount combined with your other income will not cover your expenses. Also, if you don't have health insurance covered, you may need a full time job just to have that coverage.
The earlier you apply for Social Security early retirement benefits, the less your monthly income will be.
The charts below from the Social Security website, ssa.gov, will help you decide.
If you're thinking about an early retirement date prior to age 62, you should make sure you know how your Social Security benefits will be affected by having earning years without paying into Social Security.
Too many years with zeros in the average will pull down your benefit amount. There is a calculator or estimator for this scenario at the Social Security website, too.
At the Social Security Administration's website (socialsecurity.gov/retire2/agereduction.htm) you can find this chart and additional useful information.
For example, read this information from the ssa.gov site:
"If your full retirement age is 66, the reduction of your benefits at age 62 is 25 percent; at age 63, it is about 20 percent; at age 64, it is about 13.3 percent; and at age 65, it is about 6.7 percent."
This page (at socialsecurity.gov/planners/benefitcalculators.htm) shows 4 options for estimating your benefits.
Three calculator options, 2 online, or 1 for download.
The fourth option "Retirement Estimator" (link at the bottom of the actual web page) is based on your actual work record, and offers a feature for estimating your future work record to determine an estimate of benefits. Using this estimator you can enter an amount for the future years to find out how your final benefit amount will be affected by various scenarios.
The closer you are to retirement age, the more meaningful the last option will be. This is similar to the annual earnings statement that used to be mailed out by the Social Security Administration.
I encourage you to take advantage of all the detailed information available at the Social Security website (ssa.gov) so you will be prepared to make the best decision for your unique situation.
For other retirement planning information, go here.
For other early retirement planning info, go here.