How to Fill Income Gap Forcing You to Take Social Security Early

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- "Now that I'm 62, should I start my Social Security?"

Maybe not -- if you can buy time with a temporary reverse mortgage

When to start Social Security is a common question among those nearing the magic age of 62, when that hard-earned benefit can begin to flow. Most experts recommend waiting if at all possible. If you're entitled to a $1,000 monthly benefit at your "full" retirement age of 66, you'll get just $750 at 62. Wait until 70 and you'll get $1,320.

Postponing benefits, in other words, is like a guaranteed 8% annual investment return. You'd never get that much in bank savings or bond yield.

But what if money is too tight for you to wait? There are various ways to close the gap between expenses and income from, say, a pension and investments. You can postpone retirement, work part time after retiring or scrounge for ways to trim expenses.

In fact, the gap may not be as big as you fear. After retiring, you may not need as big an income as before if your home is paid for, the kids have left and you no longer need to add cash to your investments. Many people find that the tranquillity of retirement is pleasant enough; they don't really need the extravagant lifestyle they'd wished for earlier. And a little belt tightening might be relatively painless, especially if you know it's just until you do start Social Security in a few years.

Also see: Mortgage and Housing Outlook at Midyear Is a Muddle

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