There was a candy years ago called Now-Later. I believe it was called Now-Later because if you chewed it now, it lasted so long you would still have it for later. Well, when it comes to when to collect Social Security benefits I am not so sure if the Now-Later theory actually works or if it is as fool-proof as the candy.
We did a post some weeks back on when to collect Social Security for maximum benefit. The question of when appeared in my inbox again. A gentleman asked, – When, When, do I collect Social Security benefits without cheating myself out of what is rightfully mine?
I wish the answer to his question was as straight forward as his question, but it is not. There are Fact Sheets and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Social Security Benefits. Yet, the answer to the question is as unique as one’s DNA. It is true that the longer you wait up to age 70 to receive your Social Security the higher the benefit. Waiting until after age 70 is of no real benefit.
If you don’t take the benefit at the first point of eligibility- age 62 and wait until your full-retirement age, you stand to earn 6 to 8 percent more per year. If your spouse claimed Social Security at his or her full retirement age or older, as a widow or widower you are entitled to 100 percent of the benefit. If your spouse claimed the benefit earlier, then what you are entitled to is decreased.
Once you know what the facts are, it is up to you and perhaps a financial advisor or family members you trust to see how the financial picture shapes up for you. Nobody knows your circumstances better than you; therefore you are the best source to make a decision about WHEN do you collect your Social Security benefit.
You may need the money now to help close a financial gap in your living expenses and needs. On the other hand, you might be in a position to hold off to maximize your benefits because you have enough from other sources to make ends meet. The majority of us draw money in retirement from 3 primary sources: Pensions, Social Security and Savings / Investments (TSP).
This is a question that requires some careful analysis on your part to determine what course of action best fits into your financial plans. Individuals who write and lecture on such topics are left to take a general approach. The information they give is very helpful in providing background information and giving you something to think about; but you hold the key to designing a retirement future that fits your needs.