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When should I take Social Security?

When should I take Social Security?

January 09, 2018
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Retirement is around the corner. You have saved for decades using retirement plans and have also paid into a system for decades known as Social Security. During retirement, everyone treats Social Security differently. Some people exclusively use it for their retirement income, whereas others use it in addition to their other income streams.

The difference could be how well you saved and planned during your working years, but there could also be a huge difference as to when you starting receiving payments. When you take Social Security can have a big effect on how much you receive. Here is a little guide for when to start your Social Security.

How much will you receive?

The amount of Social Security you receive will have a profound effect on when you start receiving payments. If you are 62 and do the calculation on Social Security, what do the numbers show? Are you disappointed with your number? By delaying payments, you effectively increase your monthly payment by 20% to 30%, depending on when your full retirement age is. Delaying payments beyond your full retirement age will increase your payments by 8% each year.

How is your health?

Your health could have a significant impact on when you retire and begin taking Social Security. If you have health problems and need to retire, you might start receiving payments as soon as you are able. If you’re in good health, it may be worth-while delaying Social Security as long as you can.

Do you enjoy your work?

If you don’t like your job, you are probably considering retiring right when you hit 62. However, if you love what you do and you are in good health, it might make sense to delay receiving payments until that magical 70-year-old mark. At that point, you have to start taking.

How is your other savings?

How is your other retirement savings? Do you have a decent amount in your employer plan? What about a Roth IRA? If you have 5+ years until retirement or any amount of time for that matter, it isn’t too late to increase your savings. With IRAs and your 401(k), you are eligible for catch-up contributions after you turn 50 years old. You may also have access to a pension from your employer. A combination of retirement savings and pension could thwart the need for Social Security.

Are you married?

If you are married and your spouse has met the credit requirements for social security, it’s probably wise for one of you to delay payments. By doing this, you increase your payment amount 8% each year after full retirement age.


Figuring out when retirement will be possible and how your financial health is going into your golden years if incredibly important. If you are a little behind, catch-up contributions should be taken advantage of. Having additional savings is a must because you should not be relying on Social Security to supplement your entire income during retirement. Sit down with a financial professional to find out when retiring and taking Social Security will make sense. I will always recommend delaying Social Security payments, but that is not possible for everyone. If your health is declining or you hate your job, you might not have a choice.

Note: Please consult with a financial professional for advice on your personal situation. Do not make financial decisions based solely on what you read or hear.