The debate over when you should claim Social Security benefits doesn't have a clear winner, and for good reason: No two financial situations are precisely the same. Taking Social Security at 62 means that you'll receive payments sooner, but you'll also receive much less -- about 30% less -- than if you were to wait until full retirement age (FRA). This means that if you take Social Security too soon, you'll end up with the short end of the stick, especially if you live past age 80; in other words, if you end up living beyond your life expectancy, you'll be receiving much smaller checks than your contemporaries who waited until FRA to claim benefits.
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