One of the most important financial decisions individuals face as they approach retirement is when to start taking Social Security payments. The timing of this decision can significantly impact one’s financial well-being in their retirement years. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, various factors come into play when determining the optimal time to begin receiving Social Security benefits.



Social Security is a government program designed to provide financial support to individuals in their retirement years. The age at which you can begin receiving full retirement benefits is commonly referred to as “full retirement age” (FRA). FRA varies depending on your birth year but typically falls between 66 and 67 years.



Early Retirement vs. Delayed Retirement:

– Early Retirement: Individuals can choose to start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62. However, opting for early retirement results in reduced monthly payments.

– Delayed Retirement: Delaying benefits beyond FRA can increase monthly payments. For each year you delay, your benefits may increase by a certain percentage, up until age 70.

Financial Need:

– Assess your financial situation and determine if you can afford to delay Social Security payments. If you have other sources of income or savings, waiting so that your benefits increase might be a viable option.

Health and Longevity:

– Consider your health and life expectancy. If you anticipate a longer life, delaying benefits could be advantageous, as it results in higher monthly payments over the course of your retirement.

Spousal Benefits:

– If you are married, consider your spouse’s Social Security benefits. The timing of both individuals’ benefit claims can impact the overall household income.

Working in Retirement:

– If you plan to continue working in retirement, be aware of the earnings limit imposed by Social Security. If you claim benefits before your FRA and earn above a certain threshold, a portion of your benefits may be withheld. Use this calculator to determine how much you can earn before your Social Security benefits are limited.


According to the Social Security Administration, about 40% of taxpayers end up paying tax on their Social Security income. If you believe you are in this category, you may elect to have federal taxes withheld from your Social Security checks.



Deciding when to start taking Social Security payments is a complex decision that depends on various personal and financial factors. It’s crucial to evaluate your unique circumstances, considering your health, financial needs, and long-term goals.

Consulting with a financial advisor can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision tailored to your specific situation. Additionally, this online resource is a great start in determining the best approach for you. Ultimately, striking the right balance between maximizing benefits and meeting immediate financial needs is key to ensuring a secure and comfortable retirement.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions regarding timing on when to start taking social security payments