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Sunday December 5, 2021

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Social Security Calculators That Can Help You Decide When to Claim

Can you suggest some good resources that can help my wife and I determine the best age to start collecting our Social Security retirement benefits?

Deciding when to start collecting your Social Security benefits can be one of the most complicated and consequential decisions in retirement. Depending on the age you start benefits, it may cost you and your wife tens of thousands of dollars over your retirement. Doing your due diligence now is a very smart and responsible move.

Factors to Consider


You can claim Social Security benefits any time between the ages of 62 and 70. Each year you wait increases your benefits between 5% to 8%. However, there are other factors to consider to make an informed decision. For example, you may consider your health and family longevity, whether you plan to work in retirement along with spousal and survivor benefits.

Note that Social Security Administration claims specialists are not trained or authorized to provide you with personal advice on when you should start withdrawing your benefits. They can only provide you with information on how the system works under different circumstances. To further educate yourself, you will need to turn to other sources.

Online Tools


The first step in deciding when to claim your Social Security benefits is to go to SSA.gov/myaccount. Through your account, you can access a personalized statement that estimates what your retirement benefits will be at ages 62 through 70. These estimates are based on your yearly earnings, which are also listed on your report.

Once you get estimates for both you and your wife, there are a number of online Social Security strategy calculators that can help you compare your options. You can locate these calculators by searching for them using your preferred search engine. Some of these tools may be free, whereas others may charge a fee. Some calculators provide comparisons of the total projected benefits over time, based on the age at which benefits are first claimed. These tools may also provide some insights as to how benefits may change based on tax filing status.

In-Person Advice


You may also be able to get help through a financial planner. You may wish to look for someone who is a certified financial planner (CFP). Some CFPs operate on a fee-only or hourly basis cost structure. You can locate a CFP by searching for them using your preferred search engine. To find someone, use the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors online directory at NAPFA.org.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published December 3, 2021

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