I am a Victorian Soul, live in a small townhouse that was built in the mid 1970's, not a huge Mega Mansion, with my Hubby Joe, who is a Retired Letter Carrier. I worked night shift as an RN on a Hospital based Rehabilitation( Physical Medicine) Unit for 37 years before I had Knee Replacement Surgery and officially Retired in 2019 after 41 years working in Direct Patient Care ... I am LOVING Retirement!!!!


George Eliot
George Eliot was actually a pen name for a woman named Mary Anne Evans......


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What We Learned about Social Security: Planning for Early Retirement

    Welcome to my first post in a Series about what we learned while preparing for Early Retirement.

 For the past several years, Joe and I have been working on a Plan that would allow us both to retire at the of age 62.

 Today, I want to touch on Social Security Benefits.....
According to Social Security, Joe's Full Retirement age is 66 years old and mine is closer to 67 years old.

The younger you are, the longer you will have to work to receive Full Retirement Benefits.

You can also receive Social Security payments starting at the age of 62 but these monthly payments tend to be $300-$500 less a month depending on how much you paid into Social Security while working.
Because of the physical nature of both of our jobs, working until those full retirement ages is really not an option for us.

We both have back issues, with Joe already having suffered 2 Compression Fractures in his back,  and I am in need of a Total Knee Replacement.

 As many of you know, Joe is a Letter Carrier for the Unites Sates Post Office and I am a Nurse in a Physical Medicine Rehab unit.

If we both worked at desk jobs, maybe we would be able to work longer but because of the toll that our jobs has taken on us physically, we feel it is best to take early retirement.
  I know most people try to work until their full retirement age to receive that higher monthly Social Security Income.

 We have been asked by many people as to why we don't work longer , until Full Retirement Age "because you will make more money"!

 But, do you actually get more money from Social Security by waiting until full retirement age in the long run?

I think you will be quite surprised at what we discovered.

Let's take a hypothetical situation.

Say a person who retires at 62 years of age would receive a monthly Social Security payment of $1500 .

If that person waited until their full retirement age of 67 years old, they would receive a monthly payment of $1900, $400 more a month.

Would they actually make more money waiting until their full retirement age and living to 80 years old???????

Let's see:

Retire at:

Age 62-    Payment of $1500/month from Social Security
                           12 Months in a Year

   Living to Age 80 Years Old - $18,000 x 18 Years
                    $324,000.00 - Total Social Security Pay Out

Retire at:

Age 67 ( Full Retirement Age) -  Payment of $1900/month from Social Security
                                        12 Months in a Year

                 Living to age 80 Years Old - $22,800/Year X 13 Years
                        $296,400.00 - Total Social Security Pay Out

Retiring at age 62 , living to age 80, will give you $27,600 more in your total Social Security Retirement pay out than if you waited and retired at full retirement age of 67 years old and lived to age 80!

Plus working 5 more years, you will have paid 5 more years into Social Security without actually getting a large part of that money back!
  If you choose to work part time to make up the few hundred dollars a month less that you will receive by retiring at age 62, like Joe plans on doing, you will still be contributing to Social Security and your monthly payments will still increase a bit each year.

You are allowed to make $15,720 a year if you retire at age 62 . and work part time.
   The benefit of Early Retirement is that one would get 5 extra years of retirement, or semi retirement if you choose to work part time, which will improve your health because of less stress and in our case, less physical demands on our bodies that our jobs caused.
  Plus, you will get 5 extra years to enjoy life...spending time with family, vacationing and just plain doing what you want to do!!!

So my advice is that Life is Too Short and if you can afford to retire early with a little bit less of a monthly income, do so!!

We have paid a LOT of money into Social Security over all our years of working and I want to get as much of that back as I can!!

I do want to say that it was fairly easy to apply for Joe's Social Security. We did so online which only took about 10 minutes and in a week, he received all his paper work including when he would get his first check.

There is usually a month waiting period before you get your first check so remember to plan for that.
If you still have quite a few more years left before retirement, start thinking about early retirement now and start planning for it by investing money into Retirement Plans to enhance your Retirement Income!!!!

Remember that most of us will not be able to live on Social Security alone!!

No matter how close or how far away from retirement you are, you NEED to develop a Plan!!
 You can open up an Account on the Social Security web site at any time and you then can estimate what your Social Security Retirement benefits are.

This will give you a better picture of how much money you will get monthly and what else you will need to do to increase that monthly income so that it does not come as a shock when you do retire!!

Here is a link to the Social Security Web site:

 In our case, because of our jobs, we will receive a decent monthly income from Social Security with mine being larger than Joe's because I worked full time for 37 years in a high paying job!
But I do wish we had started working on a Retirement Plan sooner than we did .

4 years ago, we developed our own plan and then 2 1/2 years ago, we started working with a Financial Planner.

Now you say, how could we afford this?????

This is a FREE service provided to us because we are members of a Credit Union!!

That is right....FREE!!!!!!

This is something that you should check into if you belong to a Credit Union and if you don't, you may want to look into joining one that offers Free Financial Planning.
This has been a life saver for us in navigating through Joe's Retirement from the Post Office, a branch of the Federal Government.

There were many things to think about like:

Life Insurance

Pension Payments

What to do with your 401 K and other investments?

In my next installment of Planning for Early Retirement, I will touch on the subject of working with a Financial Planner and the advice he has given us and will be giving me as I plan for my early retirement in 3 years.

I hope this post raised some awareness in planning for YOUR early retirement.

And I hope you will be back to visit soon!!

And thanks to those who took the time out of their busy day to spend a little bit of time with me!!

If you do not have a blog, PLEASE  give me some way to reply to your comment, maybe by including your email in your comment.  If I can not find a way to reach you, I will reply on the post where you commented so please check back......

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  1. I had planned on taking early retirement but my debt payoff plan started too late! so hopefully in a couple years I can retire fully. Tell your Joe congratulations! How exciting for you both! Yes I did notice we had the same picture, I was so excited when I saw it, great minds think alike!!! lol--have a wonderful day, Lynn

  2. My husband was forced into early retirement at age 39 from having 3 strokes-11 years ago...needless to say, making $1400 a month is not a easy thing to live on and that is a reason why I am back in school and will work (God willing) until I am 67 or longer. $1400 does not go far, just saying. We also belong to the Credit Union and they sure offer more than a bank does, just saying. I could take SS at 62 (grandfathered in) but that would only give us an extra $600 a month. So, weighed options...I rather work why I can...

    Thank you for all the info, good luck and congratulations Joe!!! smiles

  3. Thanks for all this great info, I only worked when we were first married and then stayed home once our daughter was born, but my hubby will be able to take early retirement in 10 years and we really need to start planning now, and get our debt down.

  4. Thanks for the good info. We are just raising our family now, but I'm sure it will sneak up on us fast enough. Thanks for sharing @ #wakeupwednesday

  5. Great post! We are small business owners so we don't have the traditional retirement plans. We pay off our SBA loan in November and we are reconnecting with our financial planner in December!!! Thanks Debbie! laura

    1. Laura,
      It is best to have a Financial Planner. Ours has helped us immensely! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. Very informative post. You can never start planning too early!

  7. WOW! I am so appreciative of this information. I am saving this so I can read it to my husband. Lots of good stuff here to think about Debbie. I appreciate you taking the time to give this info. to us. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  8. I'm only 26 now, but planning on retiring in 25 years - maybe a few more, maybe a few less. This was interesting to me to see. Honestly, I'm hoping I can be in a place where I don't need the social security money to make my retirement budget work. But hard to tell what life will bring.

    Stopping by from Wake up Wednesday Linky.

  9. Debbie thanks for putting the numbers to work. It's time for my husband to retire. I've been telling him to go ahead and do the social security, but he hasn't. I need to show him this.

  10. Great post Debbie!!!! Greetings! Kisses:))


  11. I took early retirement at 62. Total knee replacement for me coming soon also. I see the doc to get things rolling tomorrow. Hope it helps my hip pain. Great post and very informative. Glad we have finished with this.

  12. This is wonderful information. My favorite way to gather information is through friends' knowledge!
    Thank you!


  13. Debbie, great post!! We are 53 and 59 so this info is really important to us too. We just visited with a financial planner a month or so ago "to make sure we wouldn't be eating cat food" as my husband puts it.

    I think you and Joe will love having more time with each other. Time flies and we have to keep our priorities straight, right? :)

  14. Don't forget that you will have to buy health insurance on your own between the early retirement and the Medicare age, for us that is three years. So, we need 36 months of insurance payments in liquid savings to pay for it. We plan to retire at 62 as well. Also, married couples cannot take both SS checks, so we plan to take mine for a few years which is lower, then switch to his at his higher rate later - getting his at full retirement benefit rate. Gives us a raise after a few years to deal with inflation.

    1. Carole,
      Since I am younger than Joe, and have always carried Joe on my health care, we will not have to worry about it until I retire, Joe will then be on Medicare by then and I will only have to worry about insurance for myself then. I plan to stay on Cobra, keeping my own insurance for the 18 months that I can and then I will only have to look for insurance for 1 1/2 years after that for myself. We already know that we will go with AARP for Joe when he is on Medicare as a supplement.
      I will receive my own SS check because I have worked for 38 years now and it will be 41 years once I retire!!
      Here is the article from SS:
      Thanks for visiting!

  15. Good to know. I'm not even halfway there, but I'll have to keep this in the back of my mind for 30+ years... somehow. :)

  16. I'm sharing this post on my Facebook page Debbie. Once had a lawyer to tell me to start the first second you can to start getting all your money and more back, because many never make it long enough to get what they put in. I'm a Kentucky teacher and I paid into a retirement fund instead of Social Security. However, I'm penalized and will only get back 1/3 of the SS money I paid while working in non-education jobs. NOT fair. Therefore I've had no incentive to work a public job. I'm enjoying retirement to the fullest, before arthritis takes over.

  17. Interesting info, Debbie and I'm sure this will be very helpful for many trying to make the decision to retire. Both my husband and I are retired--I was also n RN and I know the toll it take son a body to do that job. I took my SS at age 62. My husband has a pension from a job he worked in for over 30 years so he is delaying his SS until he is 70 to get top benefit. Happily I have health insurance through his pension plan, and he had medicare plus supplement. We ahve been enjoying retirement for one year and we are actually busier than ever! We love it!

  18. Debbie, really enjoyed reading your post although I have been retired since 2007 and my husband retired in 2012. The most important thing we did looking back is that we paid off our house. That really makes a difference in life, even if you're still working. We followed Dave Ramsey for years and it has paid off. People need to know that it is so much cheaper to live after retirement. You no longer have all the expenses involved with working, you no longer have to see your paycheck disappear into Social Security deductions, Medicare deductions, pension deductions, 401K deductions, etc.
    I look forward to reading more of your posts on retirement planning. It is so important for young people to start thinking about the future.

  19. Well DD, what a great amount of information. Tom and I have been retired for awhile, both being 78 years old. I was a nurse with home health and worked til 65 and then went back to work at the same agency to fill in at a desk job finally leaving at age 70. Tom retired from General Electric at age 55 with great pension and then went to work as a courier for our HH agency able to save every dime he earned there in 10 years. We really did not do any planning but things just worked out,however, planning is definitely the way to go. Times are a changing fast and who knows what the future may bring.

  20. Debbie, As I can see from the comments and mine as well, this information is so valuable. Thanks so much for taking the time to share it. I dream about retirement, but have 9 years to go. Planning is so important. Thanks for linking up with us this week at Snickerdoodle Create-Bake-Make Link Party! As always, take care of you and Joe!

  21. Thanks so much for this information! Makes me feel better about retiring at 62 like I want. It's a little ways off but we have been talking about it.

  22. Debbie, this is really great information--thank you for sharing it @Vintage Charm!

  23. Although I am still working full-time at age 68, I took my SS benefits two years ago with no penalty and invested the money. That way my SS is working for me. It also provided the hospital part of Medicare which came in handy when I had both knees replaced this year. I didn't have to pay a dime to toward the hospital bill b/c Medicare is my secondary and my work plan is primary.

  24. Dear Debbie,
    I'm a housewife. I only worked from 16 to 25. I don't expect much. Thank you for sharing what you've learned.

  25. Hi Debbie, This is a wonderful post about retirement. We have been retired for many years and our facing our eighties in the next three years. My husband, the math professor, did this same research and it has worked well for us. Good job on your research. I am copying this to send to our daughter if you do not mind.
    Happy Blue Monday,
    xo, Jeanne

  26. Debbie, this is a very informative post. I read it the other day and I'm going to let my hubby read it too because he is also looking at retirement. My hubby works as a letter carrier too as you know only now he works inside. Negotiations have been going on for months and we're so tired of it. Hubby just wants to do his job and come home with no threat of a strike hanging over his head. I'm glad your Joe can retire and rest that back of his. My hubby went to work inside before any kind of health issues began to lay him up. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day.


  27. Good information. We both retired early and haven't regretted it at all. Health issues would have caught up with us, too, so it's been fine for us to be retired. We are now dealing with possible problems relating to pension issues.

  28. Great information! We too are planning to retire at 62. Appreciate the research you did !

  29. Good info, Debbie. We have through making all these decisions when John retired. I am very interested in what more you have to say so I hope I don't miss your succeeding posts...Christine

  30. Smart thinking, Debbie. We plan to do the same thing with Social Security. I'm a retired teacher and we currently live on less. Early retirement is wonderful and my blood pressure has never been better!
    I feel your pain in regard to your knee, though. I've had knee surgery already and was told that I'd eventually need a replacement - all those years of standing on concrete floors I guess!
    Have a great week!

  31. Great post! Totally going to share with my mom! I am not sure she has research anything, lol. Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Pinned & Sharing on FB! Have a great week!

  32. Thanks Debbie!! That was a great post! My husband started receiving his SS last year at age 62 too. (he was a carpenter) At this point something is better than nothing and I still work (I'm about 14 years younger than him) It just made sense to us! :-) Thanks for sharing on My 2 favorite Things on Thursday! Pinned!

  33. Definitely a great post to have on hand!

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  34. Steve started collecting his Social Security at 64. He left a permanent job at 58 when the company broke up everything and shipped all the work to China. Rather than transfer to West Virginia, he chose to see if being a full time artist was going to be a success - it was! The reason he didn't wait until 67 was because statistically men die before women if they are the same age and as a retired teacher in California I am not eligible to collect any of Steve's Social Security. I did not pay into SS during my teaching years because I was in the state teacher's pension program. I get a the bare minimum that covers my Medicare B from a few part time jobs before I became a teacher.

    What allowed us to retire was that we lived very small especially after our children were out of college. We put money into 3 different deferred tax programs that we were eligible for. We live just fine on my pension and Steve's Social Security and we have our 401K, 403B, 457 to tap into if necessary. Of course we enjoy the bonus of Steve selling a painting (4 in August was wonderful), but we did not take art sales into consideration when making our retirement plans.

    And, we started planning for retirement when we were 32 years old which was 35 years ago.

    Thanks for sharing this important information with SYC.

  35. Thank you so much for this! I have retired and I did just like you did and crunched the numbers. I felt it made no sense to keep working while I longed to retire. I can deal with that much less income from no commute, no career clothes, no lunches. And I get to enjoy retirement. My father retired finally at 65 back in the 80s and died a few months later. He never got to enjoy it. I vowed that would not happen to me. Loving retirement!
    Dropping over from Sundays At Home Link Party #124

  36. Very informative post. I had no idea that if you worked longer, you would net less!

  37. Such good info Debbie. I know so many will benifit from this. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  38. Very good post, Debbie! Both of us are on SS now. I stopped working about 10 years before I was eligible to draw SS, so I actually didn't pay into the system after I stopped working to take care of my grands. It can be a daunting experience and quite confusing at times. Glenn works a retirement job and is actually still paying into the system. I hope you have a good plan in place for your Medicare supplement insurance. We are blessed that he gets stipend from the company he retired from to help with our supplemental insurance policies. Hope that never stops! Our health ins. premiums went up three different times last year alone! Increases will continue because of new health care initiatives. None of the dental plans pay well so I have no dental insurance and am looking to pay around $1600. out of pocket for a root canal, between my family dentist and the root canal specialist!

  39. Debbie, this is great information! I appreciated your walking us through your thought process, too. That was very helpful. Featured for next week on Busy Monday because it so important for folks to think about these things before retirement suddenly creeps up.

  40. Between your invaluable info and people's comments have learned more. After I was already on SS since age 61 (disability at my full SS amount). I worked at Grand Junction, CO SS office for almost 2 years under a federal "get seniors back to work program" I found out about at State employment office.
    Had to be 65 at least and make under certain amount to qualify for program. Also what I earned was not taxable. I did light clerical duties part time 5 days a week and loved it besides learning more just from listening and reading while there.
    Having been on my own for some time had already learned how to "make do" and live on much less.
    Have had both knees replaced year apart and had right shoulder replaced this past Dec. Good old Humana having been bought out last year told AARP they wouldn't raise rates until 2016, last Nov. got letter informing me my premiums were going up over $20 a month and they demoted my program so I had to pay for more things than before. Like $40 every time I went to physical therapy which with shoulder replacement is critical. I had to quit going and do exercises on my own. Range of motion will most likely never be what it was. P/T head said I should have been in p/t first week after surgery, was sent after almost 5 weeks. Was easiest surgery compared to knees but hardest after surgery. Had surgery on 12/7/2015 went home on 12/8. My daughter works for p/t dept.at clinic and has told me what Humana has done to other patients.
    Get that knee done, don't wait too long. Enjoy rest of week and thx so much for hard work getting all this SS info available for us.
    Can be done but can also be very hard at times

  41. Thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing your experiences with all of us! I could not get in touch with you any other way so I am responding here..


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