Social Security is a critical component of the retirement financial strategy, so before you begin taking it, consider three important questions.
When to Start? You have the choice of starting benefits at age 62, claiming them at your full retirement age, or delaying payments until age 70. If you claim early, you can expect to receive a lower monthly benefit than what you would have earned at full retirement. If you wait until 70, you can expect to receive higher monthly benefits than if you started payments at your full retirement age. The decision of when to take benefits can depend on whether you need
the income or if you think your lifespan will be longer or shorter than average.
Should I Continue to Work? If you begin taking benefits prior to your full retirement age and continue to work, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 in earnings above the prevailing annual limit ($19,560 in 2022). If you work during the year in which you attain full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 in earnings over a different annual limit ($51,960 in 2022) until the month you reach full retirement age. After you attain your full retirement age, earned income no longer reduces benefit payments. (SSA.gov, 2022)
How Can I Maximize My Benefit? The easiest way to maximize your monthly Social Security benefit is to simply wait until you turn age 70 before receiving payments.