There’s a reason so many older Americans get really excited when their full retirement age (FRA) for Social Security arrives. FRA is when workers can receive their full monthly benefits based on their respective earnings histories.
To be clear, seniors can sign up for Social Security once they turn 62. But filing for benefits ahead of FRA results in an automatic and generally permanent reduction.
Right now, FRA is 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later. But apparently, that doesn’t sit well with roughly half of millennials and Gen Zers today.
Younger workers don’t want to wait as long for Social Security
In a recent survey by ResumeBuilder, 51% of millennials and members of Gen Z say they’d like to see Social Security’s FRA lowered. And many say it should be changed to age 60 or lower.
The reason? Some say that by lowering FRA, it opens up job opportunities for younger employees in the workforce.
Many people can’t retire until they’re able to claim Social Security. By not making seniors wait as long for their full benefits, it could allow for earlier retirements across the board, thereby allowing younger workers to secure better jobs and attain financial stability sooner in life.
That logic makes sense to some degree. The only problem is that Social Security’s finances simply don’t support an FRA of 60 for future recipients.
In fact, as it is, Social Security is looking at a financial shortfall in the coming years as baby boomers exit the workforce in droves. The program may have to change its rules to prevent benefit cuts once its trust funds run out of money, which could happen in roughly a decade.
One solution that’s been proposed to avoid benefit cuts is postponing FRA for younger workers from 67 to 68 or 69. So if anything, younger workers might have to wait even longer to get their benefits in full when they clearly want the opposite.
Plan to retire early without Social Security
If you’re hoping to see Social Security’s FRA lowered so you can retire from your career at a younger age than 67, you should know off the bat that that’s unlikely to happen. But that doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to work until 67, either.
If you save well during your career and invest your money strategically, you may find that by the time your 60th birthday arrives, you’re sitting on a nest egg worth a few million dollars. That might make it so you’re able to stop working and enjoy life for a bunch of years until you’re eligible for your monthly Social Security benefits in full.
Remember, too, that you’re not forced to wait until FRA to claim Social Security. If you’ve saved nicely, you may be fine to sign up a few years early for a lower monthly payday, but one that allows you to retire when you want.
It would be nice to give seniors access to their full Social Security benefits at a younger age than 67. But the whole reason lawmakers are contemplating an even later FRA for Social Security is that life expectancies have increased. The chances of seeing an FRA of 60 in your lifetime are pretty slim, but you can take steps to allow for an early retirement that isn’t dependent on Social Security at all.
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