Survey: Early Social Security Takers Cite Immediate, Basic Needs

In a new survey, Fidelity Investments reports that nearly half (45 percent) of Americans age 61 today are planning to begin taking Social Security at the age of 62, the first year that eligible recipients can apply. The top reasons driving their decision to collect early are immediate financial needs and health and longevity concerns.

Of those who plan to begin drawing down at age 62, more than three quarters (77 percent) will use the funds to pay for basic living expenses, such as food, utility costs, and mortgages. This group expects their Social Security payments to comprise as much as half (49 percent) of their total retirement income, yet when asked to quantify their Social Security payments, only 22 percent knew exactly how much their check will be.

Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of those planning to start taking Social Security at age 62 are also making their decision without having a formal retirement income plan, according to the survey.

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