Question:  Both my husband and I are approaching 62.  My husband, the higher wage earner, wants us to start collecting Social Security at 62, but I think I ought to continue working as well.   Together we make about $50,000 and have difficulty making ends meet.  What do you advise?

Answer:  It's really tough to consider retiring in this economic environment.  I often advise people to try living on the kind of income they'll have after retiring before quitting work.  Retiring at 62 is very painful, not just because Medicare doesn't start till 65, but because the SS income is so much lower at 62 than starting later.  Also SS income is reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn after about $14k.  In addition, the surviving spouse gets hurt after the main wage-earner's death because the survivor gets the larger of the survivor's own SS or whatever the deceased spouse's SS was.  If you are having trouble meeting ends meet with $50k, you'll never make it on SS alone unless you have very large savings.  For example, to get $25k a year from savings, you'd need a nest egg of more than $600k.