You’ve been paying Social Security tax your entire career, so it’s only natural to look forward to the promised “payoff” in retirement. But Social Security isn’t like other promises from the government. The benefits you’re entitled to receive are actually a unique asset and should be considered in your investment planning.
The full retirement age for those born from 1946 through 1954 is age 66. It gradually increases to age 67 for those born between 1954 and 1960. If you choose to start receiving Social Security benefits at age 62, you’ll get your money sooner, but the monthly benefit will be reduced by 25%. On the other hand, if you wait until age 70 to start receiving benefits, the amount is increased by up to 8% per year, in addition to annual cost-of-living hikes.
Let’s say your monthly benefit at the full retirement age of 66 is $1,000. Taking early retirement benefits at age 62 results in a permanent decrease to $750 a month. But waiting until age 70 would produce a monthly benefit of $1,320, a 32% increase.
Waiting to begin benefits isn’t the best approach for everyone. Whether you should or could do it depends on numerous factors, including your current and anticipated cash needs, your health status and family history, if you plan on working during retirement, other sources of retirement income, and the projected amount of your Social Security benefit. We’ll consider all these factors and help you decide how best to utilize this asset.
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