What does full retirement age actually mean? It’s the age when you are able to receive your “full” retirement benefits from Social Security. You can retire before your full retirement age, however. First, consider the pros and cons of retiring at your full retirement age.
Full Retirement Ages Around the World
Full retirement age sometimes changes, regardless of what country you’re in. Mostly, full retirement ages are increasing, according to US News and World Report’s Money section. Here’s a sampling of full retirement ages around the globe to show that it’s not so rosy even across the pond:
- Australia: Full retirement age in Australia is 65 1/2, increasing to 67 by July 2023.
- Russia: Retirement age differs for females and males in Russia. Women can retire at 55 and men at 60. However, President Vladimir Putin is pushing for an increase in age for women.
In the United States, it’s complicated. Full retirement age depends on what year you were born:
- Born before 1937: full retirement age is 65
- Born between 1943 and 1954: 66
- Born in 1955: 66 and 2 months
- Born in 1956: 66 and 4 months
- Born in 1957: 66 and 6 months
- Born in 1960 or later: 67
Advantages of Retiring at Full Retirement Age
You can claim Social Security benefits at 62, before your full retirement age, but do you want to? There are two distinct advantages to waiting until full retirement age or delaying payments after full retirement age:
- You’ll receive delayed retirement credits that increase your monthly payments.
- You’ll receive a larger monthly payment, but for a shorter period of time.
Disadvantages of Retiring at Full Retirement Age
Then, there’s the downside of retiring at full retirement age or delaying your benefit payments, according to The Motley Fool:
- You’ll miss out on years of monthly payments, which could result in financial struggle.
- You may be too old to enjoy your Social Security benefits due to poor health if you wait until full retirement age to collect.
- You lose out on months of having the chance to invest your Social Security income for even more retirement money.
Sometimes, taking a smaller monthly paycheck at a younger age makes more sense than waiting until full retirement age.
How Does Full Retirement Age Affect Medicare Benefits?
Fortunately, you’re eligible for Medicare before your full retirement age, according to U.S. News and World Report. Medicare has remained available to anyone age 65 or over. Even if you’re delaying claim to your Social Security benefits, you’ll need to sign up for Medicare and/or a group health insurance plan when you turn 65.
How to Determine When I Should Retire?
The age you decide to claim Social Security greatly impacts the amount you will receive throughout the rest of your life, so carefully consider your options. Many married couples try to increase their monthly Social Security payments with a combination of delaying claims, continuing to work and coordinating spousal benefits, according to U.S. News and World Report.
One of the best things you can do is to use the payment calculator with an account at My Social Security online at ssa.gov/myaccount. Log in to view your Social Security statements and get personalized estimates of future payments by various claiming age and retirement advice by age.