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Overdrive February 2019

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36 | Overdrive | February 2019 O ne big retirement planning decision involves when to start receiving Social Security payments. For those seriously lacking money or good health, it can be a no-brainer to get the extra income flowing as soon as possible, at age 62. For others, there are good reasons to wait until what the Social Security Administration considers to be full retirement age, 66. Some people postpone starting until as late as 70, when bonus pay- ments peak out. Bonnie Neal, 76, has no savings and started her payments before reaching full retirement age. "I began my Social Security at age 63 because I thought I would need to quit driving," she says. Neal did stop driv- ing but later renewed her commercial driver's license. She works part time, delivering wood products for T2 Inc., based in Sweet Home, Oregon. That pay, combined with her Social Security payments of a little over $1,000 a month, gives her about $24,000 a year. "Social Security cannot keep up with cost of living," says Neal. "Someday, I will not pass the DOT physical, and that will be it. I'm going to keep going till they absolutely shut me down." Owner-operator Phil Keith, who's leased to Wel Companies and drives team with his wife, is 60 and says he and his wife will "absolutely not" turn the spigot on Social Security at 62. "If you take it early, one, it doesn't pay that much, and two, they penalize you if you make an income." He's right about the drawbacks of col- lecting Social Security before turning 66. When payments start at 62, they are about 30 percent less than the amount you would get at 66. The longer you wait to start, the smaller those reductions are as you approach 66. Likewise, if you can delay starting to receive benefits beyond 66, your check will increase about 8 percent each year, peaking when you turn 70. Keith, named 2017 Owner-Operator of the Year by Overdrive and the Truckload Carriers Association, says he expects to work until at least 66 before retiring. "We're all caught up with paying bills and paying the truck off," he says, and they have good retirement savings. However, for anyone with enough financial security to consider waiting until turning 70, a big consideration is how many years it would take before the accumulated large payments would equal, then surpass, the accumulated smaller payments that began earlier. That point varies, depending on the size of payments and other factors. One factor is which set of start dates are compared: 62 vs. 66, 62 vs. NEXT MONTH: SELLING AN INDEPENDENT BUSINESS PART TWO RETIREMENT PLANNING Owner-operator Phil Keith and his wife have carved out plenty of time for travel, including motorcycle trips with friends, and hope to continue that in retirement. To maximize his benefits at that time, he plans to refrain from starting Social Security benefits early. SOCIAL SECURITY? When should I start BY MAX HEINE

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