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When Should I Start Collecting Social Security?

Question: Is it better to collect Social Security now—when I’m 62 and working part-time—or to wait? I don’t need the money for living expenses, but I’d be able to invest it.

— Joan Bernard, New York City

Answer: Nice idea to put that money to work—but many financial planners advise against tapping Social Security too early, since at age 62 a person receives only three-fourths of his or her full retirement benefit. You’d need to make at least 7.5 percent in the markets each of the next four years (the time you’d wait before being able to collect 100 percent of your benefit) in order to break even—no easy feat these days, says Natalie Briaud Pine, a financial adviser in College Station, Texas. Another consideration: You may be subject to Social Security’s annual earnings test. And even part-time work can result in a reduced benefit in the short term.


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