Finally, after a lifetime of working, you are beginning to think about retirement. Congratulations! You made it! Oh happy day!
Or maybe your situation is different. You are approaching retirement age, but you love your job. You built your business. You are not ready to hand it over to the next generation. You are enjoying the fruits of your labor. It's not time yet, is it?
These scenarios and so many others may apply to your situation. Whatever your feelings about approaching retirement, every working person is faced with the same question: When should I take social security? The answer? It depends.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. First, take a look at your overall picture. Hopefully, you have enough saved to support your preferred lifestyle in retirement, but many people do not. How much of your income will social security represent? The larger the percentage, the more importance assigned to the question.
Your first step should be creating an account at www.ssa.gov to be able to view your working credits and see how much your social security payment will be each month, and the different amounts available at different ages. Generally, the longer you wait, the bigger the reward.
Your second step is to look at what you have versus what you will need. Will your income be enough to sustain you in retirement? If you have enough retirement income without social security, then it makes sense to delay your social security check and let it grow as much as possible. Is there a big difference in the amount you would draw initially versus the amount you would draw if you waited? If so, another good reason to wait. Will you continue to work in retirement? If so, postpone your social security benefit.
However, if you need to retire sooner, or if delaying would not increase your draw amount significantly, or if your spouse's income is the greater - these may all be reasons to take your social security now. Plus, in the future, if you are the surviving spouse with the lower social security amount, you may be able to draw your spouse's social security upon their death. If any of these scenarios would apply to you, it may be time to draw your check!
As with any season of life, your income, expenses, upcoming changes in lifestyle, anticipated needs, etc., are all factors when it comes to deciding whether or not to take your social security now or delay it. Not just one answer is right for everyone. Still have questions? Your financial advisor can help you navigate the questions, and you can set sail for your retirement securely!