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Should I Wait To Collect My Benefits?

Is waiting to start collecting Social Security benefits a good idea?

With people living longer than ever before, it has become very important to plan for your retirement years in a way that will give you the maximum amount of income for the maximum amount of years. You should take into account the incomes you will receive, not just from your employer based retirement plan and other investments, but also the benefits you will receive from Social Security.

Social Security benefits are a very important source of income for most people. As a matter of fact, most elderly people grow to rely on Social Security as their main source of income. It helps them maintain a lifestyle that they wouldn't be able to lead otherwise.

Did you know that over half of all Americans file for Social Security benefits at age 62? This is the earliest age, depending on the year you were born, that you can start receiving benefits. Click here to view the Social Security age chart.

The age you decide to start collecting your Social Security benefits is very important. This is because you can boost your lifetime payout of Social Security income if you delay collecting it by just a few years. Does it make sense for you to wait? It depends on your financial health at the time of your retirement age.

  • If you wait until you are 66 to start collecting, your benefits will increase by an average of at least $400 per month or more, depending on how much you've paid into the system.
  • If you wait until 70 to start collecting, your benefits will increase by at least $800 or more.

This is a great strategy if you can afford to wait. It may be prudent to put off retiring for a few years if you can, especially since people are living longer.

As for many married couples, by waiting to start receiving benefits, it may improve financial security for the one who lives the longest. A widow or widower can step up to the higher amount of Social Security income their spouse was receiving before he or she died.

Waiting to collect may prove to be a valuable strategy since the widowed spouse cannot collect on both earnings records and will have to choose between the two. This makes it very important to coordinate the times you and your spouse claim benefits.

Contact your local Social Security Administration Office or go online at http://www.ssa.gov/ for further information about your benefit options.

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