How’d you like to double the size of your Social Security checks? You will goose your future retirement income if you are able to delay the start of your benefits from age 62 to 70. If you can’t wait that long, at least try to avoid taking Social Security until 66 — that will increase the size of your checks by one third. Sure, you’ll forgo some income in those early years, but you’ll make up the difference quickly once those larger checks start coming in.
We know what you may be thinking: What Social Security? Yes, last year payroll taxes fell short of the amount paid to beneficiaries, and in 2015 the program will go into the red, perhaps for good.
But few careful observers think Social Security’s checks will stop arriving (though how they’re calculated may change). That is just one of the many myths surrounding Social Security. “I never cease to be amazed that financial planners and regular citizens are so disdainful about Social Security,” says Steve Vernon, a Santa Monica, Calif., retirement consultant and MoneyWatch blogger. Congress is not about to end Social Security, Vernon notes, if for no other reason than the fact that soon-to-retire Baby Boomers comprise the largest voting bloc.
Today, most people who qualify for Social Security are eager to get their hands on a check as soon as possible. A full 70 percent of recipients sign up for Social Security between age 62 and the normal full retirement age, which is between 65 and 67, depending on the year you were born.