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  • Writer's pictureBob Brooks

Social Security – Now or Later?

When do I take social security? Should I take it now or later? I get this question all of the time. Unfortunately, a lot about social security is confusing and complicated. In fact, I am amazed at how complicated social security can be. However, there are three pieces of information that you need to know.

There is not a cookie-cutter answer to this question that fits everyone. The reality is that it depends on your own unique situation. A financial plan should answer that question for you. But, realistically, not everyone has a financial plan. Since that is the case, focus on these three tips for the Answer:

1) The Answer is not “beating the odds.”

Some people take social security at a certain age because they believe they will beat the odds and make more money by not waiting. However, the number of variables that could occur make this a shaky decision point unless you have more money than you will ever spend, and social security is not a factor.

2) The Death Benefit Matters

What kind of financial shape will your spouse be in if you die? Just remember that two things happen when a spouse dies in retirement when it comes to social security. First, the surviving spouse goes from two social security payments down to one. Second, they get to keep the highest social security payment. For example, let’s say that Spouse A receives $3,000 a month, and Spouse B receives $2,000 a month. Then, spouse A dies, and spouse B loses his/her social security and starts receiving the $3,000 a month payment. Put simply, the longer you wait, the bigger that death benefit can get.

3) 8% is the Best Reason to Wait

Let’s get down to the best reason to wait as long as you can. For every year you put off claiming social security, your payment goes up by 8%. That makes an enormous difference between the full retirement age (66 to 67) and age 70.

Bottom Line – Forget all the opinions and people telling you what to do. Do what is best for your unique situation. Having said that, consider the three above tips and wait as long as you can!

If you have further questions for Bob, please visit the Ask Bob page on the website and Bob will get back to you.


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