Full retirement age, or FRA, is one of the key concepts in Social Security. It is not terribly complicated. Essentially, FRA is the age at which you are entitled to your full retirement benefits. If you take Social Security retirement benefits before FRA, you pay a penalty. If you take them after FRA, you
get a bonus. Even if you don't want to wait to collect and get the bonus, you should try to reach FRA before applying.
Getting to FRA is going to be a little more difficult in 2020. That's because when the new year rolls around, FRA will be two months later than it is now. In the popular conception, people retire at age 65. But, unless you were born no later than 1942 that is not the correct age. For everybody else, FRA depends on your year of
birth. FRA was 66 until 2017. After that, FRA went up in two-month increments. The good news is that FRA will peak out in 2022 at age 67 for everyone born in or after 1960.
You cannot change your birthdate so your FRA is something you have to plan on. But, the next time you hear someone say he is planning to retire at 65, you can break the news to him. He could be working up to full two years beyond that if he wants to collect the full amount of his Social Security retirement benefits.