When To Take Social Security Benefits
Although it may seem like a very black-and-white decision, the age at which to take social security benefits can depend heavily on a beneficiary’s life circumstances. Individual situations determine when to take social security benefits.
Some people may start taking their benefits as early as age 62, while others may wait until full retirement age (or 70 years old). A general rule of thumb is that waiting longer to take the social security benefits makes more sense for many people. However, rules of thumb don’t cover everyone. Some factors to consider when making this decision are cash needs, life expectancy, marital status, and employment status.
Generally, the decision to wait or to take these benefits can be broken down like so.
When to take Social Security – It may be helpful to take benefits earlier if:
The beneficiary is no longer working and needs the social security benefits to make ends meet.
They are in poor health and may not survive to their full retirement age.
The beneficiary is a lower-earning spouse and their higher-earning spouse can wait to take their benefits at a later date.
Consider taking benefits later if:
The beneficiary is still working and makes enough to make their benefits taxable.
If either the beneficiary or their spouse is in good health and they expect to exceed the average life expectancy, it makes more sense to wait for increased benefits.
The higher-earning spouse can ensure that their surviving spouse receives higher benefits by waiting to take their social security benefits until they have reached their full levels.
Overall, it is typically beneficial to wait as long as one can to take social security benefits because of how they increase when delayed. At age 70, when the benefits are at their maximum, those who are in good health will find this the most opportune time to take the benefits. Of course, every situation is different and speaking to a trusted financial advisor is really the way forward for anyone who is questioning this choice.
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