Most Americans consider 65 the traditional age to take Social Security benefits, but there are other options. You can take them early, at age 62, or late, up to age 70.
If you start collecting Social Security benefits in the first year of eligibility – at 62 – you’ll receive a smaller monthly payment, but you could, theoretically, receive benefits for a longer period of time and maximize your total gain.
On the other hand, you could wait until age 70 to start collecting Social Security benefits, at which time you could qualify for the maximum possible payment.
There are pros and cons to taking Social Security early, late, or on time, but here we’ll discuss the argument for waiting. The main reason to delay taking benefits until you reach age 70 is that you’ll receive an additional 8 percent of income per year for every year past your full retirement age; this depends on the year in which you were born, but it is currently 66 or 67.
As well, your annual cost-of-living increase will be based on this higher amount, which is a significant return in today’s market environment.
Of course, in this case, you’ll need another source of income until you’re 70, which means you’ll either have to keep working or live off other investments. There also may be some concern that Social Security won’t be around if you wait the additional five years.
This option isn’t for everyone, but if you can plan ahead, it might be a compelling alternative.