retirement

Countdown to retirement: One year to go

Retirement » Countdown to retirement: One year to go

No. 2: Decide when to take Social Security
No. 2: Decide when to take Social Security © chuckstock/Shutterstock.com

No. 2: Decide when to take Social Security

The decision about when to take Social Security is tricky, especially for couples. There can be a major benefit to delaying benefits at least until full retirement age -- between 65 and 67, depending on your year of birth. But some retirees who are forced to retire earlier than planned may need to take it as early as 62.

"Know your Social Security benefit at key ages, such as your full retirement age and at age 70, and consider whether it makes sense to wait and receive the much higher benefit available at age 70," says Paul T. Murray, president of PTM Wealth Management in Chalfont, Pa. The Social Security Administration's website offers calculators that help with the decision-making process and show the impact of retiring at various ages on your monthly benefit.

If you're married and at full retirement age, you have the option to file and suspend -- apply for benefits, and then ask that payments be suspended so that your spouse can receive a spouse's benefit while you earn additional retirement credits up to age 70.

You must apply for Social Security benefits three months in advance of when you want to begin receiving them, says Tayne.

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