When to draw Social Security is one of the biggest, most impactful decisions you will make when it comes to your retirement.
Social Security planning really is retirement planning. Why?
Because when you retire you will no longer receive a paycheck. You must find a way to generate a reliable income stream to cover your monthly expenses.
Social Security will very likely be the foundation of your retirement income. It probably won’t be enough alone to cover all your expenses, but it will play a big role.
You have a lot of different options. You may wonder, “Should I draw Social Security at age 62 or 66?” You may even consider delaying it further to age 70.
The important thing to remember about when to claim Social Security is this:
For every dollar that you maximize in Social Security benefits, that’s one less dollar you will have to pull from your retirement savings.
Maximizing the lifetime benefits you receive from Social Security will help you better preserve your retirement savings.
And making your savings last you throughout your entire retirement is a problem that every retiree faces. And making a bad decision on when to claim Social Security can cause your nest egg to dwindle faster than it otherwise would.
The Cost of Making A Bad Social Security Claiming Decision
For married couples, there are thousands of different options on when to claim benefits. And there are options that are available that can allow an individual to still receive income under Social Security Spousal Benefits while simultaneously letting their own personal Social Security benefit delay and increase for later.
Using options like these can increase the total lifetime benefits you receive from Social Security. The difference between the best Social Security claiming strategy and the worst one can be a difference of $100,000 in lifetime benefits.
That’s a lot of money.
That could mean over $100,000 that would have to be pulled from your investments over your lifetime. How would that make you feel to have to deplete your nest egg over your lifetime by that additional amount?
It also means less savings left over to help you live out the retirement that you want. Because most people want to be able to take care of themselves in retirement. And if they have extra money to help out their kids or grand kids, then that’s a great opportunity that most people want to take advantage of.
Should I Draw Social Security At Age 62 Or 66?… Or 70?
The decision on when to draw Social Security involves a lot of variables. But today, let’s look at just one important aspect.
These are the general rules on how claiming early or later can affect your benefit. These rules apply if you were born between 1943-1954. If you were born in that time period then your Full Retirement Age is 66.
If your Full Retirement Age is 66, then drawing early at age 62 will result in a 25% reduction in benefits. Drawing at age 66 will allow you to get 100% of your benefit. And delaying up to age 70 will give you 132% of your benefit.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s use an example where your Full Retirement Age Benefit would be $1,000 per month.
Here is the table that breaks down how drawing Social Security early or later would affect that $1,000 per month benefit:
|Filing Age||%||Income Monthly|
You can see this information broken down by the month at Social Security’s website by CLICKING HERE. (That link shows the benefit up to age 66. What it doesn’t show you is that for every year you wait beyond your Full Retirement Age, you get an 8% increase in your benefits up to age 70.)
Putting This Information In To Action
The above table gives you an idea of how one aspect of Social Security claiming rules works. There are other factors as well, such as helping to protect a surviving spouse’s income. (I talk briefly about that here toward the end of the article.)
But how do you put this information into a plan of action for you?
Well, here are some things to consider when making your claiming decision.
You may want to file for Social Security benefits early if:
- You are willing to sacrifice higher income later, for lower income now
- You can’t stand your job
- If you do not expect to live a very long time, get the income while you can
- You are afraid that Social Security will not be around in the future
You may want to consider delaying your Social Security benefits if:
- You are willing to sacrifice present income for a larger income in the future
- You have longevity in your family
- You are still working
- You want to maximize the benefits for your spouse after you are gone
I hope that helps you make a little more sense out of how the Social Security claiming rules work. And also help you with some of the more subjective factors that will go in to making this decision.
If you know someone that is close to claiming Social Security (perhaps they are age 61 and will soon be making a decision), then forward this article to them. Together we can reach more people than I could ever reach on my own.
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