When To Take Social Security

Did you know that one out every four 65-year-olds is likely to live past 90?  There’s more. Most 65-year-old men will live until 83 and women until 85. All this good news comes straight from the Social Security Administration.

 As a baby boomer, I welcome the information. But the numbers also tell me that my plans for the future need to include as much income as possible.  My personal financial calculation includes a Social Security check, so the decision whether to take Social Security or wait is important. The math is pretty simple: the longer you wait, the more money you’ll collect.

Ages for eligibility

You can start to get a check at 62 years old, or wait until you’re 66. You’re required to take it at 70.

Difference in the benefit

La Tina Burse Greene, Assistant Deputy Social Security Commissioner for Retirement and Disability, offered a simple calculation to a congressional committee.  She explained that someone whose benefit at 66 would be:

  • $1,000 a month

At 62 would get:

  • $750

And at 70:

  • $1,320

That’s a big difference and it’s financially enticing to wait.

Social Security officials don’t offer advice, but they do suggest that you consider key factors:

  • Your health and how long members of your family live.
  • The money you have to live on now.
  • Whether you have other retirement income. If you do, maybe it won’t matter if your Social Security check is smaller. You might want to take it earlier.
  • Whether you have other sources of income. Again, that might mean it will work for you to get a smaller check now.
  • Whether others (a spouse) may depend upon your benefit in the future.


My grandparents lived a long time, and my mom recently died at 95. So I’m looking to travel a long road and I want to get as much out of Social Security as possible. That means I’ll wait until I’m 70.

Retirement Planner 

Social Security has a very good  way to check what you might get now and later.  Under the banner of “Retirement Planner,” it offers a benefit calculator. You put your information in, and it lets you know what you’ll get at 62, 66 and 70.

Please let us know what you plan to do. Leave a comment. Talk to us and join our conversation.








Published by

Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.