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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Best Time to Start Collecting Social Security

Here’s two questions we often hear from people getting ready to retire. When can I start collecting Social Security, and when should I start collecting Social Security?

You may be surprised to know that the answer can be different depending on your age and financial situation.

You may not yet realize it, but there's no one age at which everyone starts collecting Social Security. You can actually start collecting at age 62, or you can put it off until age 70. Most people start collecting at 62, usually because of a financial need. But putting it off can result in you collecting more.

What is known as your full retirement age varies, based on the year you were born. Here’s a breakdown:

1943 to 1954 – age 66

1955 – 66 and 2 months

1956 –66 and 4 months

1957 – 66 and 6 months

1958 – 66 and 8 months

1959 – 66 and 10 months

1960 or later – 67

Why is it important to know your full retirement age? If you delay collecting social security beyond your full retirement age, you can receive larger benefit checks. Again, you can hold off until age 70. But what’s also true is if you start collecting at age 62,  your check will be smaller.

Here are two examples. If you start collecting at 62, and your full retirement age is 66, you will get 75 percent of the amount you are eligible for. But if you wait until 70, and your full retirement age is 66, your check will be 132 percent of what you are entitled to.

The decision on when to start collecting is also impacted by whether you are still drawing a paycheck.

If you are getting to or at the age when it is time to start collecting Social Security, the best option is for you to seek the advice of a financial planner you trust. Look at the pros and cons and make the best decision for you and your family.


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