New Regulations, Math and More
Deciding when to take Social Security benefits is one of the biggest decisions a retiree will make. "File and Suspend" methods are no longer an option due to legislative changes in the fall of 2015. Now it just comes down to what age I'll take Social Security and how much I benefit each month, right? Well, not exactly.
Individuals with Social Security work history can log into mySocialSecurity to get an estimate of what your benefit would be at age 62, your Full Retirement Age (FRA), and age 70. Taking Social Security at the earliest age of 62 means that you'll forgo about one third of your Full Retirement Age benefit, and delaying Social Security until age 70 means you can expect roughly an additional 30% benefit.
Eager to take Social Security at 62? Not so fast...
- In addition to giving up about 1/3 of your FRA benefit, you'll also be limited on how much income you can earn. In 2016, you could earn up to $15,720/yr before your Social Security benefits would be cut.
- By delaying Social Security, not only do allow your retirement benefit to grow, you could also benefit from several years of low/no taxable income. Depending on your situation, you could take advantage of signficant tax & financial planning strategies to save you money.
But deciding when to take Social Security isn't JUST about calculating your monthly benefit. You'll want to consider
- What kind of lifestyle do you want in retirement? Will you decide to work part time or open your own business?
- When will your spouse retire? Will a paycheck still be coming in?
- Do you have dependents that could collect on your benefit?
- How will you feel without any fixed income coming in every month? Do you need income now?
This is just a sampling of some items to consider to help you get the most out of Social Security.