Early Retirement Causes Brings Regret for Many

Many Americans who took early Social Security benefits in recent years now regret that decision, according to the results of a new survey.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance said it polled 903 adults aged 50 or older who are either already retired, or plan to retire in the next 10 years recently, as part of its Nationwide Financial Retirement Institute consumer survey.

Financial struggles are the main reason that many now regret taking Social Security benefits early. In fact, 38% of early retirees say they wish they would have waited, according to Nationwide.

The survey found that those who started getting Social Security early report a lower average monthly payment – at $1,190 — than those who started at their normal retirement age, who get an average of $1,506. Those who started late get $1,924 on average, according to the Nationwide poll.

Many who took early retirement are finding that the smaller check just isn’t covering their rising cost of living – particularly the burden of health care costs.

This is significant, since nearly 75% of Americans say that Social Security is their top source of expected retirement income for out-of-pocket health care costs. Nationwide said that, for a middle-income healthy couple retiring next year at full retirement age, health care costs are expected to eat up 69% of their Social Security benefits.

Of course, that already high percentage goes through the roof for people who take early benefits, and consequently get much less money in their Social Security checks. Some retirees say they could devote their entire Social Security check to healthcare costs and still not have enough to meet their medical expenses.

These findings certainly show the dire retirement crisis the country is facing, with far too many Americans simply unable to retire because they face an over-reliance on Social Security benefits. Younger workers should take note of these findings, and do everything they can to put money away for the future.


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