Broker Check

Social Security

| May 18, 2018


A hot topic in retirement planning these days is the best time to begin Social Security benefits.

When you approach age 62 – the earliest most people can begin – it becomes tempting to supplement your monthly earnings.  But not so fast!

Until your Social Security full retirement age, your benefit may be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn above the 2018 annual limit of $17,040 (special rules apply for the year that you retire).

Even if you don’t have earned income, there are a number of reasons to consider delaying Social Security.

  • The benefit amount grows about 8% every year until age 70 that you don’t begin benefits
  • You may be able to take your spousal benefit first and allow your own benefit to grow
  • Your taxable income will be increased by a percentage of your Social Security benefit, decreasing your ability to take advantage of financial strategies when your taxable income may be lowest.

You may think that you will receive more in total Social Security if you begin taking it earlier. But your life expectancy and the total projected amount of your Social Security has been predetermined. If you begin earlier, it is projected that your payment will be less for more years, and if you begin later that your payment will be more for fewer years. 

If you outlive the projected life expectancy, you will likely have gained by delaying taking your benefit.  If you do not live to life expectancy, you may have gained to begin earlier.  Keep in mind, upon your death your spouse will only be entitled to the higher of your two Social Security incomes.  If you delay taking Social Security, you may benefit your spouse with a higher income for life. 

I encourage you to look beyond your potential income today and make the best decision for your and your family’s future when considering when it is best for you to take Social Security. 







Laura Mickels has spent more than 30 years working for investors with both Wall Street and independent firms.  CochranMickels Retirement Specialists provides personalized planning and investment services to individuals approaching and in retirement.


These are the opinions of Laura Mickels and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.