While not all seniors celebrate their birthdays with the same enthusiasm as individuals passing into adulthood at age 21, there are still some milestone birthdays that have financial importance to seniors.
Significant Birthdays for Seniors
Whether you are retired or still working, as you reach and pass a few significant birthdays, you should stop to consider some important financial decisions that could change your retirement experience. Government regulations may force you to make choices at some of these milestone changes, while others just allow you some new options.
Age 59 1/2
Once you pass age 59 ½, you are allowed, for the first time, to make withdrawals from your IRA account without incurring a 10% early withdrawal penalty. You still need to pay income tax on the distribution.
Roth IRA owners can also escape the 10% early withdrawal penalty after age 59 ½, and if they had one Roth account for at least five years, the withdrawals are also tax-free.
Be careful though, because some employers won't allow these withdrawals if you are still working.
Try to hold off on dipping into your retirement account if you can; the longer you wait, the more your funds can grow.
You reach two significant milestones at age 62. First, you can begin receiving Social Security benefits. If you can, it's best to wait until your full retirement age (which varies based on the year you were born) because your benefits are reduced by a percentage for each month you receive benefits before your full retirement age. Benefits can also increase by 8% for each year you delay from age 66 to 70.
Seniors who are homeowners are eligible for a reverse mortgage beginning at age 62. The amount you can borrow is based on a sliding scale according to the equity in your home and your age, so, again, you may be better off waiting until you are older to apply for a reverse mortgage. Compare information now from reverse mortgage lenders so you understand if this loan product can benefit you in your retirement years.
At age 65, you are eligible for Medicare coverage. About three months before you turn 65, contact the Social Security Administration to find out about enrollment.
Age 70 1/2
Mandatory minimum distributions are required for holders of IRAs, 401(k)s, and other defined-contribution retirement plans at age 70 ½.
No matter what your age, an annual review of your financial options such as a reverse mortgage could be beneficial.
Michele Lerner is a freelance writer with twenty years of experience writing articles and web content for newspapers and magazines on topics related to real estate, personal finance and business. Her clients include The Washington Times, Urban Land Magazine, NAREIT's Real Estate Portfolio, and numerous Realtor association publications. Michele's first book, "HOMEBUYING: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time" is available now at Amazon.com or from www.MicheleLerner.com