When you take the time to ponder your retirement picture, how much do you see and how well-focused is the image? A comprehensive retirement plan is, in a manner of speaking, a picture of your future — a future in which an alarm clock won't likely figure very prominently, if at all, since you'll no longer be going to work every day. Having a fruitful retirement is the postscript to the American Dream — and the ideal is to spend those proverbial golden years in comfort and calm, spending your time and money when and where you will. But in order for that to happen, you must carefully think about several retirement concerns and how much value you place on each before you can really see the full picture.
The time when you feel as though you've been working for as long as you can remember and are longing for the respite the proverbial golden years will provide is nigh. You know you're eligible for Social Security (SS) benefits, and you're thinking about when you should start taking the income you've worked so hard to earn. But when you go to weigh your Social Security options — depending on a number of factors, of course — you may decide that you can survive the workforce for a few more years if it means getting a bigger monthly benefit.
If you cannot delay your retirement until age 70, remember than if you were born after 1959 (making your full retirement age 67), and you elect to start taking SS benefits at age 62, your monthly benefit is cut by 30 percent.
The earlier you begin taking Social Security benefits, the smaller your monthly payouts will be. Conversely, the longer you wait, the higher the monthly benefit will be. If you defer your benefits until the maximum age of age 70, your monthly benefit could be as much as double what your “full retirement age” payout would provide. No mater your choice, you'll receive the same amount of money from the Social Security Administration (SSA) — if you take your funds early, they'll need to last longer; if you take a later withdrawal, the money you would have earned has simply accrued to a higher amount, due to your older age.