I retired from my job as an aerospace engineer at Lockheed Martin when I was 60. At that time, I had originally intended to wait until 66 or later to take Social Security so the benefit would be as high as possible. I had invested for more than 30 years, and my plan all along was to be taking money out of my IRA.
Instead, with the market tanking in March 2008, I decided that it would be better to start taking my Social Security at 64 rather than having to sell my investments at a low market value. My pension pays about $550 a month after taxes -- which isn't enough to get by -- and I didn't want to keep just pulling money out of my IRA.
It was a good move. On April 25 this year, my investments recovered their recession losses.
To maximize our benefits, we're still holding off my wife Susan's Social Security even though she is now 65. I have a good newsletter I follow for investing in mutual funds and ETFs so I'm not panicking, but this market ride is no fun!
NEXT: John Meek, 64