When Is the Best Time To Collect Social Security?

When did you/do you plan to take Social Security? And why? Share your opinion here!

We would ask the same question about a pension, when to take and what payout option is best.

There is no universal best time. Every persons situation is different. I started at 63 1/2. That’s just when my financial stars aligned and I could do it. The wife and I still work a little part time for pocket money. No debt, which in my mind is the biggest factor.

I started at 62. I may not get as much by not waiting, but the difference is more than made up for by the relief of stress from work for 5 or more years.

1 Like

As with everything it depends. If you need the money and/or are healthy, take the $$$ at age 70 as that leads to the biggest payout provided you live to at least 82. If you have a lot of sources of income and want to invest the difference take it at age 62. You may come out ahead by investing the difference but that takes discipline

I didn’t take it early for any financial reasons…I took it because I honestly believe that had I worked one more year, the job would have killed me. The stress was horrible. I stepped away at 61, took Social Security at 62 and I can say that the reduction in stress is worth every single penny that I gave up by taking it early.


Yes definitely. Having lost my MIL early, I so agree

I wonder if I have a 40% pension on $100,000 to $150,000 FY, about $1,500/mo SS and $1.8M, will I be able to retire at 62?

I’m thinking $1.8M generates about $75k a year

I’m guessing if you turn those numbers into today with a 4% discount, it’s worth only $675,000, $560 in SS, and $1,250 in a pension or $2,250 + $560 + $1,250 or around $4k a month

One factor is how long you expect to live. Being busy, enjoying work, and not needing it, I put it off until almost 70.

Late wife though took hers at 62 and croaked at 72 after drawing for about 10 years. In each of these two examples, I think the decision was best.

Another factor to consider, if you are still working, is contributions to an HSA. It’s great to be able to do that, but if you ring the Socialist Security bell, the gov’t will no doubt cram you with Medicare Part A. After all it doesn’t cost you, right? WRONG! It negates your ability to continue loading your HSA, and rotso ruck trying to get them to walk it back.

I ran the numbers and realized waiting for the max at 70 wouldn’t outweigh starting at 63 until I was 85. So I called SSA and started the process. The helpful person gave me a number for my benefit.

Then he said, “now let’s look at your family maximum. Since you have a minor child and a disabled adult child, they will qualify for a benefit under your family maximum. Your wife will also qualify as a care-giver. That will more than double the total benefit for the family.”

I had not heard of the “family maximum” before. That number is based on your benefit at full retirement age. So if I had started benefits at 62, the family maximum number would have been the same as it was based on the FRA.

Not everyone would qualify, but for those that do, the family maximum is a big change to expected benefits and should be considered.

I’m going to take it at 70 but my wife has a severe illness she will take it when she stops working… 62, 63 she’s not sure yet. She probably won’t make it to her 80s that is the breakeven age for taking Social Security later, the early 80s.

If the severe illness is of the disabling type - she should file for SSDI even before she turns 62 and if approved for SSDI she will get her FULL benefit as differing from filing for early SSOAI retirement at 62 to which her benefit would be greatly reduced since it is deducted based on the number of months to FRA.
I believe there is a way to file for SSDI benefits at the same time as early retirement - IOW - if you don’t get one - you are assured of the other.

She would then also qualify for Medicare early since it kicks in 24 months after being on SSDI.

At her full retirement age only her benefit name would change - not the amount.

Her illness is not disabling she can work but she will pass away prematurely

Guessing about future events is a crap shoot. No matter when you take SS$, it’s going to be either a “I’m so glad” or a “if only I would have” woulda, coulda, shoulda kinda deal. We rarely get those guesses right on the target we aim at.

Those who have not yet started on Social Security should use a Social Security calculator to help guide their decision. The decision is particularly complicated for spouses where, for example, the higher earner may benefit from filing later and the lower earner may benefit from filing earlier.
Clark has previously recommended Maximize My Social Security which costs $40/year https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/ Another option is the more recently developed free calculator Open Social Security https://opensocialsecurity.com/

1 Like