When Should You Start Taking Your Social Security Benefits, Continued | Santa Barbara Elder Law and Estate Planning

Posted by Julianna Malis | Oct 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

What if you don't start taking Social Security benefits until after your full retirement age? As you would expect, you'll be rewarded for this. For example, if your full retirement age is 66, you'll receive 108 percent of your monthly benefit by waiting until age 67. Wait until the age of 70 and your monthly benefit rises to 132 percent.

So, based purely on the numbers, you can see why many advisors recommend waiting. Your benefit is significantly reduced the earlier you start taking it and considerably higher the longer you wait.

Now, many people will say, understandably, that they worked long and hard to earn their benefit and want to start enjoying it as soon as possible. There are also certain situations where taking your benefit early makes financial sense. An article on points out that if you are in poor health, with a lower than average life expectancy, and you are in need of income, taking your benefit early may be appropriate.

In addition, married women are often good candidates for claiming early benefits because they are likely to live longer, and to have earned less, than their husbands. If your husband's benefit will be larger than your own, you will receive this larger benefit when your husband passes away. It's important to note that if your husband claimed early benefits, this scenario does not apply.

The break-even point

The break-even point occurs when the total value of higher benefits (the result of waiting to take them) exceeds the total value of lower benefits (the result of taking them early).

Consider the following example. Let's say Joe is eligible to collect a reduced $900 benefit at age 62 plus 1 month. Since his benefit would have increased to $1,251 if he had had waited until age 65 and 10 months to take it, Joe's estimated break-even age would be 75 years and 5 months. In this example, if Joe expected to live beyond the age of 75 years and 5 months, it could be a financially sound decision to delay taking benefits.

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About the Author

Julianna Malis

Julianna Malis, Attorney at Law, LL.M (Taxation-Estate Planning) Julianna helps families stop worrying about the ‘what ifs’ in life, and instead prepare for life events through proper estate planning. As the founder of Santa Barbara Estate Planning Law Group, she brings a family-centered approach to planning, with a focus on practical solutions for families and high net worth individuals...


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