Council on Aging Answers 2016 - 76

When Is The Best
Time To Start Retirement
Social Security Benefits?
COUNCIL ON AGING - ORANGE COUNTY

FINANCE & LEGAL

According to Social Security, there is no one "best age" for
everyone and, ultimately, it is your choice. You should make an
informed decision about when to apply for benefits based on your
individual and family circumstances.
Your decision is a personal one
Would it be better for you to begin receiving benefits early with a smaller monthly amount or wait for a
larger monthly payment later that you may not receive
as long? The answer is highly personal and depends on a number of
factors, such as your current cash
needs, your health and family longevity, whether you plan to work in
retirement, whether you have other
retirement income sources, your
anticipated future financial needs
and obligations, and, of course, the
amount of your future Social Security benefit.
Monthly payments differ substantially based on when you start
receiving benefits
If you live to the average life
expectancy for someone your age,
you will receive about the same
amount in lifetime benefits no
matter whether you choose to start
receiving benefits at age 62, full
retirement age, age 70 or any age in
between. However, monthly benefit
amounts can differ substantially based on your retirement age. Basically, you can get lower monthly pay-

ments for a longer period of time or higher monthly
payments over a shorter period of time. The amount
you receive when you first get benefits sets the base
for the amount you will receive for the rest of your
life, though you do receive annual
cost of- living adjustments and,
depending on your work history,
may receive higher benefits if you
continue to work.
Let's say your full retirement
age is 66 and your monthly benefit
starting at that age is $1,000. If you
choose to start getting benefits at
age 62, your monthly benefit will
be reduced by 25 percent to $750
to account for the longer period of
time you receive benefits. This is
generally a permanent reduction
in your monthly benefit. If you
choose to not receive benefits until
age 70, you would increase your
monthly benefit amount to $1,320.
This increase is from delayed retirement credits you get for your
decision to postpone receiving
benefits past your full retirement
age. The benefit amount at age 70 in this example is 32
percent more than you would receive per month if you

When thinking

about retirement, be
sure to plan for the
long term. Many of

us will live much longer
than the "average"

retiree, and, generally,
women tend to live
longer than men. .

76

Answers Guide 2016	

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Contents
Council on Aging Answers 2016 - Intro
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Council on Aging Answers 2016 - Cover3
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