For Mark Roberts’ Use: Toward the middle to end of your fifties, you’re probably kicking your retirement planning into high gear. In fact, you’re doing so much retirement planning at this time, that an early retirement starts to sound more and more appealing. And because you’re first eligible for Social Security benefits at age 62, you might feel tempted to go ahead and retire at this age. Yet, a lot of people might advise you that this is a bad decision. Why?

First of all, it’s not necessarily a bad decision. Plenty of people have been able to successfully retire at 62, and they’re quite happy with that choice. But before you take the same leap, you do need to evaluate two very important things.

Social Security. Yes, you’re eligible to claim your benefits early, but at the cost of permanently reducing your checks by about 25 percent. This might not matter to you, if your other forms of retirement income are adequate to provide for your needs. Just do your best to ensure that you won’t regret losing out on that money later.

Healthcare. This is the biggest consideration, for those hoping to retire at 62. You won’t be eligible for Medicare for three more years, at age 65, so what will you do about health insurance in the meantime?

Perhaps your employer offers a retiree healthcare benefit, making you one of the lucky ones who don’t have to worry about health insurance after an early retirement. Still, take the time to carefully investigate these benefits. Sometimes the retiree benefit is not as comprehensive as the employee healthcare plan, or it might come along with much higher deductibles.

Purchasing your own health insurance plan is another option. In some cases, you might even receive a subsidy to help with the cost of your premiums (depending upon income). But because premiums can rise each year (sometimes dramatically), you will want to plan very carefully for this expense. It probably won’t be cheap!

You might even feel tempted to try and go without healthcare for three years until you can access Medicare. This is not a good idea! Just one accident or illness could prove devastating to your finances.

Retiring at 62 can be a possibility for some people. But we really want to emphasize the importance of carefully analyzing the above two factors. Call us to schedule an appointment,and we can run the numbers to compare several different scenarios. The together we can make a plan to help you achieve your retirement goals.