Full Social Security benefits are available as early as age 65, depending on your date of birth.
If you choose, 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.
Which option you choose depends on your life expectancy and your needs.
Social Security calculates monthly payments so that if you start taking payments 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 taking payments 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. So, if you are in good health and have a family history of longevity, delaying benefits may provide more money in the long run. But if you don’t expect to reach or exceed your life expectancy, then it may make sense to start as soon as allowed.
If you plan to save your Social Security benefits, taking them early – even though they will be reduced – may be a good idea.
That’s because the return you receive on the invested money might make your total benefit greater than the increased benefits you will receive if you take Social Security on time or delay benefits until age 70.
There are many other factors to consider when deciding when to take Social Security benefits.
For more information, it is probably wise to seek advice from a professional.