The "right" age to claim Social Security can depend on a variety of factors

If you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66. If you haven't claimed Social Security yet, you're probably debating if you should claim at 66, or wait until age 70. It's a difficult decision, because if you claim at 66, you'll get more checks over your lifetime than you'd get if you wait, but those checks will be smaller. Is it better to claim at age 66 than at age 70? It depends.

A bit of background

Social Security replaces about 40% of your pre-retirement income, and in 2017, the average Social Security recipient is receiving $1,360 per month in benefits. You can claim your benefit as early as age 62, but you'll only get 100% of your benefit if you wait until your full retirement age to claim. Your full retirement age depends on your birth year, but for people born between 1943 to 1954, it's age 66.

If you wait until age 70 to claim your benefits, you can get more than 100% of your benefit amount. Social Security rewards those who wait with delayed retirement credits, and these credits increase your full retirement benefit amount by a fixed percentage per month, or 8% annually, up until age 70.



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