The best time to begin taking Social Security

At what age should you start claiming Social Security?


"Most people take it at 62," he says. "They end up losing in the long run. If they delay it till 70, they will get 30% more. Unfortunately," he says, "most Americans can't do that." Improper timing can cost you $100,000 to $150,000 over a lifetime, says John Gajkowski, of Money Managers Financial Group in Chicago. When should you take it? If you delay taking Social Security, it increases your monthly benefit about 8% a year until you're eligible for the maximum at 70. Most financial planners pretty much recommend that you do that if you can, or delay at least until age 66. But most people can't delay.
Comment: Obviously we have not taken it at 62. Kathee is 63 and I am 65. Image of "gramps": "(1939). poster of old man smoking pipe. This poster announces the passage of the 1939 Social Security Amendments." Source. (many cool retro posters here!)

What You Don't Know About Social Security—but Should - A Look at Claiming Strategies, Tax Angles and More to Help You Make Sense of a Complicated Program


You may have heard the advice countless times: Minimize (or avoid) withdrawals from your nest egg (401(k), individual retirement accounts, etc.) for as long as possible to take advantage of tax-deferred growth. Many investors who follow that advice grab Social Security benefits, typically at age 62, to help pay the bills. But that advice ignores the possible tax benefits associated with following the opposite course: accelerating withdrawals from savings early in retirement so that you can hold off on claiming Social Security. The thinking here is tied to the fact that Social Security benefits are taxable. As much as 85% of a married couple's benefits are subject to tax when their income exceeds $44,000 ($34,000 for individuals); as much as 50% of benefits are taxable at lower income levels. If you delay claiming Social Security and, as a result, end up with larger benefits, future withdrawals from savings will likely be smaller—a recipe for lower levels of taxable income. (For a detailed discussion of these tax issues, see "Innovative Strategies to Help Maximize Social Security Benefits," from James Mahaney, vice president at Prudential Financial Inc. "Many retirees don't consider the impact of their withdrawal strategy on how their Social Security is taxed," says Mr. Meyer, the SocialSecuritySolutions.com founder. "Missteps in tapping the wrong account and investments to generate income can significantly increase your taxes."


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