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Starting Social Security is an Individual Decision

Social Security CardIt seems simple enough—the longer you wait to start Social Security, the more you’ll get. So you should wait as long as possible…unless you just can’t wait. You might need the money right away. Or you might be overwhelmed by what it all means and figure the sooner you take it the better because after all, you worked for it. But then again, you don’t know how long you’ll live or the quality of life you’ll have.

If all of that sounds imprecise, that is because it is. The decision to start getting Social Security is an individual one and you have to decide based on your life.

While many financial advisors suggest delaying it if you can, a few interviewed in The Washington Post article, “What age is best to start drawing Social Security benefits? Truth is, it depends.” offered some reasons for going ahead and starting to get those Social Security benefits before 70.

Married couples: If you are in a couple, one of you can get benefits earlier and the other can wait.

Fun and fit: Why keep working when you are in great shape and ready to reap the rewards of working hard? At least one person pointed out that waiting too late may mean you don’t enjoy your golden years as you would like.

Life expectancy: Evidence that African Americans (particularly men) tend to earn less over their lifetimes and live shorter lives could lead to a decision to start getting Social Security as soon as possible. This may work out…unless you end up living a much longer life than expected.

Low on savings: If it looks like you could go through your savings too quickly, you might want to start getting Social Security benefits early.

One expert noted that the best thing to aim for in an “educated decision.” You would be ill advised to take Social Security based on when your friends do or based on what someone else tells you without considering your particular lifestyle and a Fee-Only financial advisor can help you make  your decision.