Stressed dispatcher eager for retirement

Don TaylorDear Retirement Adviser,
I am 58 years old and my husband is 64. He retired from teaching and gets 60 percent of his retirement funds. The other 40 percent goes to his ex-wife. He also gets $1,400 in Social Security benefits while working part time. I work full time at a very stressful job as an emergency dispatcher and want to retire when I have 20 years of service. That's three years from now. I can wait to draw my pension four years after retirement. At that point, I'd get $1,700 a month.

My husband has a survivorship benefit on his teaching salary, so I would get 40 percent of that if something happened to him. My husband took Social Security as soon as he was eligible at age 62. Should I also take Social Security at age 62?

Thank you,
-- Jackie Juncture

Dear Jackie,
If I've done my math right, you plan to go four years without working or drawing your pension. I don't know enough about your family finances to accurately answer whether you can go four years with no income of your own.

Filing for Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 would give you some income beginning one year after you retire from the stressful job.

On the one hand, you might want to take your pension at age 62 and wait to draw Social Security until your full retirement age of 66 years and 2 months. The other option is taking Social Security at age 62 and waiting to draw your pension at age 65. Assuming you were born in 1955, if you begin to receive Social Security at 62, your benefit would be cut by nearly 26 percent.

Work with your plan administrator and your Social Security office to learn exactly what you can expect in terms of dollars.

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