What is the Best Age to Start Receiving Social Security Benefits?

What is the Best Age to Start Receiving Social Security Benefits?

Generally speaking, the closer you are to age 70, the better. But everyone will need to take all of their options into account and use some planning tools or the assistance of a professional planner to arrive at an ideal cash flow scenario for retirement. All assets should be brought into consideration, as well as the possible social security benefits of both spouses and their spousal benefits.

There is no one “best age” to start receiving the Social Security benefits. Everyone has a Normal Retirement Age (NRA), which determines the age at which you can receive your “full” Social Security benefits, but you can defer your benefits past this point to receive an 8% increase for every additional year you deferred your benefit. Note that benefits cannot be deferred past age 70.

If you choose to get payments before you reach your NRA, your benefit will be reduced by five-ninths of a percent for every month left until your NRA, up until 36 months. If you start receiving payments more than 36 months before your NRA, you’ll be hit with an additional five-twelfths of a percent per month. If your normal retirement age is 67 (which it is for people born after 1960) but you want to take your benefits at age 62, your benefit will be reduced by 30% of what it would have been at your NRA.

It is common among married couples to have one spouse file, and for a while they will receive their full benefit, and the other spouse will claim spousal benefits for the time being. Then, after deferring the other spouse’s benefit until perhaps as late as age 70, the second spouse will claim their benefit and the spouse who claimed first can take either their benefit or the spousal benefit from the second spouse’s claim if it is higher.

All of this should be done using an overall picture of a couple’s assets and future cash flow projections from all sources. You only get to start claiming Social Security benefits once, and it is very important to make the best decision possible.

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