Can you get more than your fair share?
Social Security Retirement Benefits — Should You Delay Claiming Yours?
The system is designed to always give you the same lifetime benefits, on average; here’s how you can (legally) “cheat”
It’s one of the most significant financial decisions facing you as you approach retirement age.
Should you claim your Social Security retirement benefits as early as possible (at age 62); delay until your full retirement age (FRA) — 67 if you were born in 1960 or later; or delay further, potentially to age 70?
If you’ve read up on it, you’ll find many sources arguing for delaying as close as possible to age 70, if you can, as well as many arguing that there are distinct advantages to claiming early.
Which is right for you?
The following digs into this exact question, brings in guidance from four financial pros, and wraps up with my own analysis and conclusion.
Who Are the Financial Pros Quoted Below?
I asked four pros for their thoughts on the topic:
- Nick Covyeau, CFP®, Owner and Financial Planner at Swell Financial
- Kevin Lao, CFP®, Founder and Director of Financial Strategies, Imagine Financial Security, LLC
- Yvonne Marsh, CFP®, CPA, Principal at Marsh Wealth Management
- Emily C. Rassam, CFP®, AIFA®, CRPS®, NSSA, Senior Planner at Archer Investment Management
First, the Facts — How Does Claiming Age Affect Your Benefits?
You can get the straight facts straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), “In the case of early retirement, a benefit is reduced 5/9 of one percent for each month before normal retirement age, up to 36 months. If the number of months exceeds 36, then the benefit is further reduced 5/12 of one percent per month.”
Delaying past your FRA adds 0.67% per month, or 8% per year, to your benefit relative to what it would have been at FRA.