If you’re nearing retirement, it may be time to consider whether you should take social security benefits early, on time, or late.
To make such a decision, it’s important to know how Social Security works.
Full benefits are available as early as age 65, depending on your date of birth.
You may receive benefits at age 62, but your benefits will be reduced.
Or you can delay benefits until age 70, in which case your benefits will increase.
When choosing which option is best for you, there are many factors to consider.
Two major factors are your life expectancy and whether you actually need the benefit to support your living expenses.
To understand why, remember that Social Security calculates monthly payments so that if you start early, the smaller payments received over a longer time could total the same amount as if you had started receiving benefits at normal retirement age.
On the other hand, if you start late, the bigger payments received over a shorter time could total the same amount as if you had started receiving benefits at normal retirement age.
However, all these calculations are based on your normal life expectancy.
If you live beyond that life expectancy, then delaying benefits will result in higher monthly payments and a potentially higher lifetime total.
If you don’t expect to reach or exceed your life expectancy, then it may make sense to start as soon as allowed.
There are many other factors to consider in deciding when to take Social Security benefits.
Before you make a decision, it’s wise to seek advice from a professional.
Social Security offices across the country have staff available to talk to free of charge.
Call the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 for the location of an office near you.