More Americans are making smarter Social Security choices
Delaying the start of Social Security benefits is a smart strategy for most recipients, and one whose advantages are well documented. A delay strategy increases the total amount of money expected to be paid over most single workers' lifetime or for a couple's primary wage earner. An additional boost for married couples is that a delay strategy can increase the survivor's benefit paid upon the primary worker's death.
In spite of these substantial advantages, for many years the average age at which workers started their Social Security benefits was stuck at barely above 62, the earliest possible age -- with the lowest possible benefit. Starting Social Security benefits at age 62 versus waiting until the "full retirement age" (currently 66) reduces the annual income by 25 percent, for life. Delaying benefits beyond 66 increases annual income even more -- by 8 percent for each year benefits are delayed, but only until age 70.