You can begin taking Social Security as early as age 62, but there is an incentive to wait if possible. If you do wait until “full retirement age” (which will be explained below), you’ll receive your entire benefit. So, depending on your birth year, your full retirement age will vary according to Social Security Administration, and the following graphic depicts this as of 2021:

Year of Birth Full Retirement Age
1937 and Before 65
1938 – 1942 65 + 2 months for each year past 1937
1943 – 1954 66
1955 – 1959  66 + 2 months for each year past 1954
1960 and Later 67

There certainly are different implications for every person and their individual needs, but the later you take it, the greater the benefits. It should be noted you must take it at age 70, and you will receive more money in doing so. There is a benefit “phaseout” which basically means the earlier you take it, the higher percentage the benefit will be reduced by, but there is no incentive to delay claiming after age 70. The following depiction shows how much a $1,000 monthly check would net you depending different circumstances:

Year of Birth Full Retirement Age
(depends on current date)
If you file at 62,
% benefits is reduced by
A $1,000 check
turns into
1943-1954 66  25%  $750
1955 66 and 2 months 25.83% $741
1956 66 and 4 months 26.67% $733
1957 66 and 6 months 27.5% $725
1958 66 and 8 months 28.33% $716
1959 66 and 10 months 29.17% $708
1960 and later 67 30% $700

Now, let’s look at a chart that depicts how much you will receive if you do wait until your full retirement age to take Social Security Benefits (if possible given personal circumstances):

Retirement Age New Benefit A $1,000 check turns into
66 + 6 months 104% $1,040
67 108% $1,080
67 + 6 months 112% $1,120
68 116% $1,160
68 + 6 months 120% $1,200
69 124% $1,240
69 + 6 months 128% $1,280
70 132% $1,320
© Mahoney Asset Management

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