The Real Reason Why People File for Social Security Early

A woman files for her Social Security retirement benefits online as Michael Astrue (R) commissioner of the Social Security Administration stands nearby during a news conference

A woman filing for her Social Security retirement benefits online | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

With a new Congress and administration headed to the White House, it can be hard to tell what the future holds. But we can probably count on one thing: A shake-up is coming. With Donald Trump holding the presidency and Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, attempts to reform some of our oldest and most important programs and institutions are in the pipeline. That may sound good to some Americans. But what does it mean for health care or social security?

Again — we still don’t know. But the signs are pointing toward some big changes. Privatization of the Social Security system, for example, may actually happen, now that Republicans control most of the government.

If you’re around the retirement age, that may spook you into wanting to act. You may want to sign up early, for example. And you wouldn’t be alone. Lots of people have been signing up early for social security for some time now, despite the advantages (in the form of boosted income) of waiting. But the system is fraught with problems. Not the least of which is that it will become insolvent within the next couple of decades.

Right now, you can sign up for social security after you turn 62. If you wait until 70, though, you’ll receive more money. So, why are people opting for smaller checks at earlier ages?

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