The full retirement age for people retiring now (including baby boomers who were born between 1943 and 1954) is age 66. The full Social Security retirement age will gradually increase for people born after 1954 until it reaches age 67 (for people born in 1960 or later).
However, people can choose to collect benefits as early as age 62, as late as age 70, or anywhere in between.
If you choose early retirement, you can collect benefits as early as age 62, but your benefits will be reduced for each month that you collect them before you reach the full Social Security retirement age. People who retire at age 62 and start collecting Social Security at that time will only receive 75% of the benefit they would receive at full retirement age.
Alternatively, you can choose to wait until age 70 to start collecting your Social Security retirement benefits. By waiting, you will increase your benefit amount to 132% of the benefit you would receive at your normal retirement age.
Interesting tidbit: When Social Security was established way back in 1935, the age of retirement – and when you could start collecting benefits – was age 65. The law wasn’t changed until 1956, when it was amended to allow women to apply as early as age 62. The assumption was that wives were younger than their husbands and that they would want to retire at the same time. Note that men could not apply for benefits at age 62 until the law was amended again in 1961.
Social Security Retirement Age Going Up Even More?
For years we’ve been hearing that Social Security is going broke, and that changes will need to be made to keep the program solvent. Some of the most likely changes include reduced benefits and having to wait even longer to collect benefits. Don’t be surprised to see the Social Security retirement age go up even further as the program evolves. We’ll keep you updated on changes to the Social Security retirement age and the system as they happen.