Don't Take Social Security Early, (unless...)

Feb 12, 2015
Author: Scott Hanson

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Have you recently turned 66, and are thinking: “Time to claim my Social Security?”

Not so fast.

Sometimes, it pays to wait even longer (until age 70), but it’s absolutely not cut and dried. Your benefit can actually grow by a pretty reasonable 8% a year until you reach age 70.There are some tricks, however, if you want to receive some Social Security now, but still accrue that extra income by waiting to receive full benefits later. Speak to a professional, as the paperwork must be accurate and filled out on time, but one completely legal way to do this is to claim the spousal benefit only. (The spouse must be at full retirement age.) Here’s an example. The full retirement age wife claims Social Security, and the full retirement age husband claims the spousal benefit on the wife’s Social Security. Then, when the husband turns 70, he makes his own claim, and with it comes the benefit of the extra growth accrued by delaying the benefits.

There are other options, and even those described above have additional considerations, one of which may be that the laws and regulations surrounding Social Security could change in the future, with could be in the form of further “means testing” or even an increased delay in benefits (an increase in the full retirement age). A credentialed advisor can help you figure out the best route for you.

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