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Should I retire now at age 62 and collect Social Security benefits?

Question:

Should I retire now at age 62 and collect Social Security benefits, or should I wait until

Answer:

There's no right time to begin collecting Social Security benefits, but the age at which you begin receiving benefits will affect how much retirement income you have, so you should weigh the consequences carefully.

Keep in mind that if you collect Social Security before your full retirement age, your benefit will be permanently reduced. Depending on the year you were born, you'll receive between 25 and 30 percent less per month if you collect benefits at age 62 than if you wait until full retirement age to begin collecting benefits. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that collecting benefits at age 62 is unwise. In fact, unless you live to an especially old age, you may actually end up with more money if you start collecting Social Security benefits at age 62 than if you wait until full retirement age, because you'll receive more benefit checks.

However, there are also good reasons to wait until full retirement age to start collecting benefits. For example, if you work full-time past age 62, you'll have the opportunity to increase your eventual retirement benefit, particularly if you are in your peak earnings years, because your benefit will be figured using your 35 highest earnings years. Additionally, if you'll barely scrape by after you retire, you may want to receive as much as possible from Social Security each month.

Other things to consider include whether other people will be eligible to receive benefits based on your work record, your eligibility for Medicare, and your estimated life expectancy. The Social Security Administration has several online benefit estimators available at www.ssa.gov that can help you make an informed decision, or you can talk to a representative by calling (800) 772-1213 if you have questions.

Information provided has been prepared from sources and data we believe to be accurate, but we make no representation as to its accuracy or completeness. Data and information is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended for solicitation or trading purposes. Please consult your tax and legal advisors regarding your individual situation. Neither AXA Equitable nor any of the data provided by AXA Equitable or its content providers, such as Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc., shall be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for the actions taken in reliance therein. By accessing the AXA Equitable website, a user agrees to abide by the terms and conditions of the site including not redistributing the information found therein.

Please be advised that this material is not intended as legal or tax advice. Accordingly, any tax information provided in this material is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The tax information was written to support the promotion or marketing of the transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed and you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent advisor.

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY). Securities are offered through AXA Advisors, LLC, NY, NY 212-314-4600 (member FINRA / SIPC). AXA Equitable and AXA Advisors are affiliated companies, do not provide legal or tax advice and are not affiliated with Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.

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GE 64309 (07/2011)