Social Security is the foundation of your retirement income plan. Beginning at age 62, you have 96 different start date options when you can turn on Social Security. Starting your check at the right time can make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars during your, and your spouse’s, lifetime.
Social Security timing is more than just an algorithm; we must take into consideration your personal wants and needs for income. Some clients just want to start it early, some need it early, others want to delay until 70 to make their check as large as possible.
It is crucial to make the right decision when it comes to starting your Social Security check. You do not get a redo.
Questions we can answer
- When should I take my Social Security check?
- What is my Social Secuirty Full Retirement Age?
- Can I claim my spouses, or ex-spouse’s, Social Secuirty?
- Can I get more money from Social Secuirty?
- Should I take my Social Security check if I’m still working?
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You can start collecting reduced Social Security benefits as early as age 62. However, if you’d like your full Social Security benefits, you’ll have to wait until your Full Retirement Age (FRA). For those born between 1955-1959, your FRA is 66 + a few months depending on your birth year. For people born in 1960 and later, FRA is 67.
You can delay starting Social Security as far out as age 70. The longer you hold off, the larger your check will be. Benefits grow every month that you delay your check. Signing up for a My Social Security account at SSA.gov gives you access to your projected benefits at every age.
Spousal benefits and spousal survivor benefits are affected by the age at which the primary earner starts receiving benefits. If you are collecting spousal benefits, you are entitled to half your partner’s Social Security benefit at FRA. If your partner starts their check early, they could diminish your survivor benefit as well.
Divorcees can collect on their ex-spouse’s earning record if they meet some requirements. Widows or widowers can collect Social Security as early as age 60. Certain actions, such as remarriage before age 60, can affect eligibility for these benefits.
You’ll pay income taxes on your Social Security check if your other income exceeds certain levels. This is based on your “combined income”. In 2021, if you are single and make more than $25,000, or married and make more than $32,000, up to 85% of your Social Security check will be taxed. State taxation will differ; some states do not tax Social Security at all, while others tax it as regular income.
If your household relies on two Social Security checks, when one partner dies, the survivor will continue receiving the larger of the two checks; the smaller check goes away. Investments, annuities, or life insurance can compensate for this loss of income to the survivor.
Social Security planning has long-term care implications. Social Security is the base income used to pay your long-term care bill, and the remaining amount is made up from other income. This applies if you don’t have long term care insurance. The average Social Security check is $1,400, while the average monthly cost of home health care $4,500. There is a large difference between these numbers.