Deciding when to start your Social Security benefits is a big decision that impacts your financial comfort in retirement. You might have heard that waiting longer to take Social Security increases your monthly check, but that’s not the best move for everyone. Let’s break down what you need to think about to make the best choice for your situation.

Here’s a simpler look at the options and what they might mean for you:

  1. Understanding Full Retirement Age (FRA): Full Retirement Age is when you’re eligible for 100% of your benefit, and it’s between 66 and 67 for most people today. You can start taking money at 62, but your benefits are reduced if you do. If you wait past your FRA, up to age 70, your benefits go up each year you wait.
  2. Why Some People Take Benefits Early: Many choose to start getting Social Security before reaching FRA. Some need the income right away due to early retirement or health issues. Others might want to enjoy their money while they’re younger and more active.
  3. The Case for Waiting: If you can afford to wait, there are good reasons to do so. Each year you delay past your FRA, your Social Security check increases. This can be especially helpful if you live longer than average, as it means more money each month later in life.
  4. Health and Family History: Your health and how long your family members tend to live can also influence your decision. If you have reasons to believe you might not live into your late 80s or 90s, starting earlier might make sense. But if your family tends to live long lives, waiting could mean more retirement income later.
  5. Coordinating with Your Spouse: If you’re married, the decision you make will also affect your spouse. Delaying benefits can increase the survivor benefits for your spouse, which is something to consider if one of you expects to live much longer.
  6. Tax Considerations: When you start taking Social Security can also affect your taxes. It might make sense to delay benefits to keep your taxable income lower for a few more years. This is something to talk about with your financial advisor.

Deciding when to start your Social Security benefits isn’t just about crunching numbers. It’s about looking at your whole financial picture, including your health, lifestyle, and whether you’re still working. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but being informed can help you make a choice that fits your life.

If you’re unsure about the best time to start taking Social Security, it might be helpful to talk with a financial advisor. Our Financial Architects can help you understand your options and what they mean for your financial future.

For more tips on making the most of your retirement planning or to schedule a consultation, call our office at (435)773-9444 or click here. We’re here to help guide you through these important decisions.