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Deciding When to Start Receiving Social Security Benefits

You may be at the point in life when you need to consider when to start receiving social security retirement benefits. Of course, for some people, their financial situation demands that they receive benefits as soon as possible. Many other people, however, have the privilege of evaluating the alternatives and making the decision that is best for them.

Keep in mind that you may start receiving social security benefits at any time between age 62 and 70. For social security purposes, your full retirement age (the time you will receive your full retirement benefits)  is 66 if you were born after 1942 and before 1955, it’s age 67 if you were born after 1959, and it’s somewhere between age 66 and age 67 if you were born after 1954 and before 1960.

Before you get any type of application filing service, please consider the following issues:

  • If you retire at age 62 (or any time before your full retirement age), your retirement benefits will be permanently reduced.
  • If you retire any time after your full retirement age (up to age 70), your benefit will include a delayed retirement credit that will boost your benefits for the rest of your life.
  • If you retire before age 65 (when you become eligible for Medicare), you must consider the availability of health insurance benefits.
  • The longer your life expectancy (and perhaps the life expectancy of your spouse), the more you may benefit from delaying social security retirement benefits.
  • If you can replace some lower-earning years in your work history with higher earning years by continuing to work, you may be eligible for higher benefits when you do decide to retire.
  • A cash flow analysis should be done to compare the effect of continuing to earn a salary versus retiring and receiving social security benefits.
  • If you have dependent children, they may be eligible to receive benefits when you start receiving benefits.
  • Receiving social security retirement benefits may impact your other retirement plans.
  • The emotional and psychological benefits of working versus retiring.
  • The impact of receiving social security benefits on your federal income tax situation.

We stand ready to help you sort through these issues and others that pertain to your unique situation. Thoughtful planning will ensure you and your spouse receive the maximum benefits you are entitled to.

Ryan Luetkenhaus


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