• Question
  • Is the maximum retirement age always the right time to take social security?

    Asked by a 61 year old man from Irvine, CA on 2/18/2013

    Is the maximum retirement age always the right time to take social security?

  • Categories: When to Start?, Social Security, Guaranteeing Income


  • Get a FREE 1-on-1 phone
    consultation with this advisor
  • The maximum retirement age has the highest Social Security benefit, but it isn't always the right time. I have worked with many people and couples where it made sense to draw their Social Security prior to age 70. It depends on when someone is retiring, how much money they need and the return on their investments.

    Recently I ran projections for a couple who wanted to retire at 60. If they waited until 70 to draw his Social Security and she took her spousal benefit at 66, by the time they reached 70 Social Security would provide all the income they needed. The tradeoff? To get there they'd have to spend down their after-tax retirement savings and IRAs to zero. Even though they saw Social Security would provide, they did not want to completely deplete their investments. For them, taking Social Security earlier and making some changes to their investments was the right answer.

  • Login to rate this answer:   Answered on 2/21/2013
  • Steve 


    San Francisco, CA

    Get a FREE phone consultation
    with an advisor. Learn more...
  • Hi,

    Good question. One of our advisors, Bud Hebeler, has written extensively on this. Basically - if you think that you'll live a long time and can afford to delay, then waiting until your Maximum Retirement Age is a good idea. However - many people don't actually live long enough past their break even age to make this worthwhile, so claiming at your Normal or Full Retirement Age can also be a good choice. Typically claiming at 62 is a bad since your benefit is reduced and your penalized for income you make over certain levels until your Normal Retirement Age.

    Bud has a good discussion here: http://www.newretirement.com/answers/bud-hebeler/social-security-taking.aspx

    You can also use our Social Security Calculator here: https://www.newretirement.com/Services/Social_Security_Start_Age_Calculator.aspx

    Our holistic retirement calculator may also give you some good ideas: https://www.newretirement.com/retirement-calculator/default.aspx

  • Login to rate this answer:   Answered on 2/20/2013
**All above answers are provided as general information only. No warranty is made regarding the fitness or accuracy of the information provided in this answer. You should seek advice from a licensed CPA, attorney or CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ as to your unique financial situation.