The web's best personal finance advice.

The Ideal Age to Get Your Maximum Social Security Benefit

Ellen Chang | FEB 4, 2019

While you can start collecting Social Security benefits at 62, waiting longer means you can get your full entitlement.

As many people retire older and live longer, having extra money can be helpful, especially if your savings aren’t quite up to par or your living standards have changed.

Waiting until age 70 means you will receive more benefits through Delayed Retirement Credits. For every year you wait to claim benefits between your Full Retirement Age and age 70, you’ll get an 8% bump in your benefits. 

3 Reasons to Wait Until 70 to Claim Social Security

1. You may not have enough in retirement savings.

A third of Americans are unable to retire because they simply haven’t saved enough, according to new data from Northwestern Mutual. Specifically, 1 in 3 Americans have less than $5,000 saved, while 1 in 3 Baby Boomers have less than $25,000 in retirement savings. Even more alarming: 1 in 5 Americans have nothing saved at all.

Waiting until 70 will ensure you receive the highest benefit possible, which can help make up for a shortfall elsewhere. However, you shouldn't plan to rely solely on your Social Security benefit in retirement. 

2. The cost of daily necessities rise over time.

The U.S. cost of living has risen 13% over the past three years, according to GOBankingRates. The USDA estimates that the cost of food per month for a Baby Boomer ranges from $172 to $343 and rises annually. But you may have other expenses such as paying a caregiver, refilling medications or maintaining your home. All of these costs add up quickly and increase each year. 

3. The average monthly Social Security check is not sufficient to cover all expenses.

The average monthly Social Security retirement benefit is currently $1,294 and only slightly increases each year. Although your benefits could be higher or lower, the average might be enough to cover only your rent or mortgage, but will not pay for other necessities such as a car payment.

If you elect Social Security benefits before the age of 70, your check could be even lower, creating an even tighter budget.

The Best Way to Plan Your Social Security Benefits and Avoid Mistakes

Make sure you are factoring Social Security benefits in to your retirement planning accurately. Learn the basics of Social Security eligibility and payments so you won’t get any unpleasant surprises when it comes time to claim your benefits after decades of hard work. 

Financial advisors are well-versed in Social Security planning and can help you determine when is best to elect your benefits and how to avoid tax traps. They can also assist you in strategizing how Social Security fits into your overall retirement plan. 

Chances are, there are several highly-qualified financial advisors in your town. However, it can seem daunting to choose one. 

This new tool makes it easy to find the right financial advisor for you. Now you can get matched with up to three local fiduciary investment advisors that have passed a rigorous screening process.

Follow These Steps to Get Matched With the Right Advisor for You

1. Simply enter your ZIP code below.

2. After you enter your ZIP code and answer questions about your financial goals, you can compare up to three top advisors local to you and decide which to work with.

3. Enjoy a better financial future!

Most Popular

Find Your Advisor

SmartAsset - copyright 2018

SmartAsset - copyright 2018

Fix the following errors:
Hide