Social Security: Rocking on through your retirement

Social Security: Rocking on through your retirement

June 27th, 2013 Gregory Holmes in Business Diary

Gregory Holmes, district manager for Social Security

Generations ago, retirement was thought of as a time to take it easy - a time of rocking on porch chairs and reminiscing about the good old days. But that's not the case with the current generation of retirees. In fact, many older people today continue to rock on. Just look at some of the superstars touring and performing concerts this year who are old enough to collect Social Security retirement payments. They're still rocking, but not in chairs.

Bob Dylan is on tour, as he usually is during summer months. Dylan is 71 years old. But with a recent album and new tour dates, you'd never know he was of retirement age.

Neil Young is touring with Crazy Horse to support their new album. The "godfather of grunge" is 67 years young. He's become the "Old Man" he sang about in his Harvest days.

Paul McCartney's current "Out There" tour may more appropriately be called his "Up There" tour. The former Beatle is now age 70.

Willie Nelson is "On the Road Again." The music icon is 79 years old and seems to be on nonstop tour.

Aretha Franklin is 71. Carlos Santana is 65. Carly Simon is 67. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are both 69, as is Joni Mitchell. Leonard Cohen is 78. B.B. King is 87. They're all still performing their music.

Of course, some of these well-known musicians may not be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. But all of them are of retirement age. So where are their rocking chairs and knitting needles?

It's hard to believe, looking at all of these mature stars, that retirement used to be associated with bridge and shuffleboard. It's not just musicians. In fact, many people decide to put off applying for retirement benefits. And even after they do begin collecting benefits, many "retirees" prefer to keep working -- or at least moving and shaking.

Most people know that you can begin collecting early Social Security benefits at age 62, with a reduction in the monthly amount. The full retirement age is gradually going up from 66 for people born between 1943 and 1954, to 67 for people born in 1960 and later. You can delay retirement even further and receive a higher payment when you retire, up until you reach age 70. And another thing that has changed since the past generation: you can continue to work and still receive retirement benefits.

Learn more about Social Security retirement benefits by reading our publication on the subject at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Begin the process with our Retirement Planner at www.socialsecurity.gov/retirement. Crank up the tunes, and start planning before you head out to your next concert.

Submit questions to local Social Security Director Gregory Holmes by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by e-mailing him at dflessner@timesfreepress.com.