Mark Hulbert: Why people who claim Social Security early often live to regret it

Your retirement standard of living could very well be worse if you claim your Social Security benefits at age 62.

That’s surprising because the Social Security Administration goes to great lengths to ensure that, regardless of when retirees claim their Social Security benefits, they will be no better or worse off. Those claiming at age 62 — “early claimers,” as they’re called — will receive more years of benefits than those who wait, but at a reduced rate. Assuming their life expectancy is equal to what the actuarial tables predict, the total benefits they receive in retirement will essentially be the same as if they had waited and received fewer years of higher monthly benefits.

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