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Social Security: Nearly Half of Americans Plan to Take Benefits Early

Deciding when to apply for Social Security is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face in retirement. Both options — taking benefits early or waiting until later — have pros and cons.

All things being equal, experts generally urge people to wait until at least their full retirement age, and possibly age 70, before taking Social Security.

Yet, 42% of Americans either “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that they plan to both file early for their benefits and continue working, according to a survey of 1,853 adults age 26 and older conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the Nationwide Retirement Institute.

Among generations, 51% of millennials, 42% of members of Generation X and 26% of baby boomers plan to use this approach.

The survey found a significant rise in the number of people who plan to apply for benefits early and continue to work, with the percentage increasing from 36% in 2021 to 42% today.

The increase was especially notable among women, jumping from 34% in 2021 to 42% now.

While taking benefits early makes sense in some situations, it does have drawbacks, especially if you continue to work. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson once explained one of the biggest downsides by using himself as an example:

“My Social Security will not be reduced when I earn money on the side after I reach my full retirement age. However, should I choose to take my Social Security before that age, and I also continue to work, my Social Security payments will be reduced. The reduction is $1 for every $2 I earn over a certain threshold.”

That earnings threshold is $19,560 for 2022. For more on Stacy’s take on the subject, check out “Can I Work While Getting Social Security?

So, while a lot of folks plan to take Social Security early, they should think their options through carefully before forging ahead. For more on the benefits and drawbacks of this strategy, check out:

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