1 Simple Social Security Question That Could Make or Break Your Retirement
There are countless factors that will affect how much you receive from Social Security each month, including the number of years you’ve worked and your earnings throughout your career.
But there is one factor, in particular, that could potentially make or break your retirement, and it’s a question every future retiree should be asking: At what age will you start claiming benefits?
How Your Age Will Affect Social Security
Once you reach age 62, you become eligible to start receiving Social Security checks. Age 62 is also the most popular time to claim, with around 35% of men and nearly 40% of women at that age, according to a 2020 report from the Bipartisan Policy Center.
You don’t have to file at age 62, though. It is also possible to start claiming at any age thereafter, and by doing so, you will receive higher payouts. In some cases, this can amount to hundreds of dollars per month.
For example, let’s say 67 is your full retirement age (FRA), or the age at which you will receive the full amount of benefits to which you are entitled based on your employment record. Let’s also say that you receive $1,600 per month at this age, which is about the average amount of benefits among retirees.
If you were to deposit as soon as possible at age 62, your checks would be reduced by 30%, leaving you with $1,120 per month.
However, if you were to delay benefits until age 70 (which is the longest waiting period while receiving a bonus amount), you will receive your full benefit amount plus an additional 24% each month. That works out to $1,984 per month, which is $864 more per month than what you would receive filing at age 62.
When should you start receiving benefits?
While it may seem ideal to wait until age 70, it’s not the right strategy for everyone.
If you already have a solid retirement fund and don’t necessarily need the extra cash, for example, applying early can help get you off to a good start in retirement. Or, if you lose your job and are forced to retire earlier than expected, applying for Social Security early can provide you with additional income.
Also, if you have reason to believe that you may be living shorter than average, you could actually receive more in your lifetime if you deposit as soon as possible. After all, if you live to, say, 75, it doesn’t make much sense to wait until age 70 to start collecting benefits.
The best reason to consider delaying Social Security is if you want to maximize your monthly income. Again, you could collect hundreds of dollars more per month by waiting a few years to file your return, and if your savings are insufficient, that extra money could make a huge difference.
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer as to when you should file for Social Security, but it’s an important question to ask yourself before you retire. By claiming at the age best suited to your circumstances, you can prepare for a more enjoyable retirement.