A Comprehensive Guide to Determining When to Draw Social Security

Joshua Dunlop |

Understanding Social Security Benefits - when to draw social security

Image Alt Text: Understanding Social Security Benefits - when to draw social security

When approaching the decision of when to draw Social Security, the key takeaway is simple: timing matters. If you're looking for a quick answer, here it is: delaying Social Security benefits until age 70 can maximize your monthly payout, particularly if you're in good health and can afford to wait. However, for those who need income earlier due to health issues, financial needs, or life transitions, starting benefits at full retirement age (currently 67 for most people) or even as early as 62 (with reduced payouts) might be the right choice.

  • Age 62: Earliest age to draw with reduced benefits.
  • Full Retirement Age (67 for most): Receive 100% of your calculated benefit.
  • Age 70: Maximum delay with increased benefits due to delayed retirement credits.

Understanding the nuances of Social Security and the substantial impact timing has on your retirement planning is crucial. Each year you delay beyond your full retirement age up to age 70, your benefits increase, providing a higher monthly income. This consideration is especially vital during major life transitions, such as divorce or the loss of a job, where financial stability is paramount.

In a nutshell, the choice of when to start drawing Social Security revolves around balancing immediate financial needs against the benefit of waiting for a larger payout. For individuals navigating significant life changes, achieving a clear understanding of these options is the first step toward securing financial comfort in retirement.

Evaluating the Best Age to Start Drawing Social Security

When it comes to Social Security, timing is everything. Deciding when to draw Social Security isn't just about marking a date on your calendar; it's about understanding how this decision impacts your financial health in the long run. Let's break down the key ages and what they mean for your retirement income.

Early Withdrawal at Age 62

Starting to draw Social Security at 62 is tempting for many. It's the earliest age you can begin to receive benefits, but it comes with a catch: your benefits are reduced. For example, if your full retirement age (FRA) is 67, taking benefits at 62 means your monthly payment could be reduced by about 30%. While this option provides immediate income, it's crucial to consider the long-term impact of a reduced benefit.

Full Retirement Age (FRA): Age 67

For those born in 1960 or later, 67 is considered the full retirement age. At this age, you're eligible to receive 100% of your benefit. Deciding to start your Social Security benefits at FRA means no reductions, but it also means you've foregone earlier payments you could have received starting at 62.

Delayed Benefits: Waiting Until Age 70

Waiting until age 70 to draw Social Security is often seen as the optimal strategy for maximizing your benefits. Each year you delay past your FRA, your benefits increase by about 8% until you reach 70. This means if your FRA is 67, waiting until 70 could increase your benefits to 124% of the full amount. However, this option requires having enough savings or income to support yourself without Social Security benefits in the interim.

Considerations for Each Age:

  • At 62: You get immediate access to funds, but at a reduced rate. This could be beneficial if you're unable to work or need the income for living expenses.
  • At 67 (FRA): You receive 100% of your benefits. It's a middle ground for those who can afford to wait a bit longer to start receiving payments without impacting their lifestyle significantly.
  • At 70: You maximize your monthly benefit, which is especially beneficial for those with longer life expectancies or those who can financially afford to delay.

Choosing the right age to draw Social Security - when to draw social security

Image Alt Text: Choosing the right age to draw Social Security - when to draw social security

The Bottom Line:

The best age to start drawing Social Security depends on your individual circumstances. Consider factors like your health, financial needs, life expectancy, and whether you're still working. Drawing early means more payments over time but at a reduced rate, while waiting allows for larger payments but fewer of them.

Navigating this decision isn't easy, and it's highly personal. If you find yourself unsure, it might be helpful to consult with a financial advisor. At NewMaker Financial, we're here to help you weigh these options, considering your unique financial landscape to guide you toward the best decision for your retirement years.

Keep these considerations in mind. Up next, we'll delve into the factors influencing your decision on when to draw Social Security, providing deeper insights to navigate this critical choice.

Factors Influencing Your Decision

Deciding when to draw Social Security is a big step. It's not just about picking a date. Several personal factors play a crucial role in this decision. Let's break them down.

Health Status

Your health is a big deal here. If you're in great shape and expect to live a long life, waiting to draw Social Security could mean more money in the long run. On average, men live to about 84, and women to about 87. But, these are just averages. Your family history and lifestyle can give you clues about your own journey.

Financial Needs

Money matters. If you need cash to cover daily expenses or don't have enough savings, you might think about taking Social Security earlier. But if you can wait, your monthly checks will get bigger. This is important because it can help you handle unexpected costs down the road.

Employment Status

Still working? Earning a paycheck could change your Social Security strategy. If you start your benefits before reaching full retirement age and earn more than the yearly limit, your Social Security benefits could be reduced temporarily. But, there's a silver lining – your benefit could increase later to make up for this reduction.

Life Expectancy

This is a tough one to think about, but it's key. If you're healthy and your family tends to live long lives, delaying Social Security could work in your favor. You'll get larger checks. However, if you have health concerns or a shorter life expectancy, starting earlier might make more sense. It's all about balancing the number of checks you receive with their size.

Marital Status

Married, divorced, or widowed – your relationship status can influence your Social Security strategy. Married couples can benefit from each other's Social Security records. Divorced? You might be eligible for benefits based on your ex-spouse's record. And if you're widowed, you have options to maximize your benefits based on your late spouse's record.

Each of these factors can push your decision in one direction or another. It's not just about age; it's about your whole life picture. NewMaker Financial can help you look at all these angles to find the best path for you.

We'll dive into the financial implications of drawing Social Security at different ages. Stick with us to understand how your benefits are calculated and how to make the most of them.

Next, we'll explore how the age at which you start drawing Social Security can affect your finances in both the short and long term.

The Financial Implications of Drawing Social Security at Different Ages

When deciding when to draw Social Security, it's crucial to understand the financial implications of your choice. Your decision can significantly impact your retirement income and tax situation. Let's break it down.

Benefit Reduction

If you choose to start receiving Social Security benefits before reaching your full retirement age (FRA), your monthly benefit amount will be reduced. For example, if your FRA is 67 but you start drawing benefits at 62, your benefits could be reduced by about 30%. This means if you were supposed to receive $1,000 a month at FRA, you would only get $700 at 62.

Delayed Retirement Credits

On the flip side, delaying your Social Security benefits past your FRA can increase your monthly benefit. For each year you delay, up until age 70, your benefits grow by about 8%. So, waiting until 70 could significantly boost your monthly income. This increase is a powerful tool for maximizing your retirement income, especially if you expect to live a long life.

Tax Considerations

Social Security benefits may be taxable depending on your "combined income." If your income exceeds certain thresholds, up to 85% of your benefits could be subject to taxes. Drawing benefits while still working or having other substantial income sources could push you into a higher tax bracket, increasing the taxability of your benefits.

Earnings Test

If you start receiving Social Security benefits before your FRA and continue to work, your benefits could be temporarily reduced based on how much you earn. The Social Security Administration applies an earnings test and withholds a portion of your benefits if your earnings exceed a certain limit. However, these withheld benefits are not lost forever; your monthly benefit will be increased at your FRA to account for amounts withheld due to earlier earnings.

Understanding these financial implications is key to making an informed decision about when to draw Social Security. Each person's situation is unique, and what makes sense for one person may not be the best choice for another. Consider your health, financial needs, life expectancy, and employment status when making your decision. And remember, NewMaker Financial is here to help guide you through these choices, ensuring you make the most of your retirement planning.

In the next section, we'll discuss how NewMaker Financial can assist you in navigating the complexities of Social Security, providing a holistic vision for your retirement planning.

Navigating Social Security with NewMaker Financial

Holistic Vision Planning

At NewMaker Financial, we understand that deciding when to draw Social Security is more than just a financial decision – it's a life decision. Our approach begins with a deep dive into your life goals, dreams, and concerns. We consider how your Social Security benefits fit into a broader vision for your retirement. Whether you're dreaming of traveling the world, starting a new venture, or simply enjoying leisure time with family, we tailor your Social Security strategy to align with your overall life plan.

Investment Management

Your Social Security benefits are a key piece of your retirement income puzzle. At NewMaker Financial, we don't just look at these benefits in isolation. We consider how they interact with your other income sources, investments, and savings. Our team provides expert advice on how to optimize your investment portfolio, ensuring that it supports your desired retirement lifestyle. Whether it's adjusting your asset allocation or planning for required minimum distributions, we're here to manage the complexities.


We believe that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to Social Security. There are many rules, regulations, and strategies that can impact your benefits. That's why we prioritize education, helping you understand the ins and outs of Social Security. From workshops to one-on-one sessions, we provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions. We cover topics like the implications of drawing Social Security at different ages, how spousal benefits work, and the tax considerations of your Social Security income.

Approachable Partner

At NewMaker Financial, we pride ourselves on being approachable and accessible. We know that questions about Social Security can arise at any time, and we're here to provide answers and reassurance. Our team is just a phone call or email away, ready to assist with any concerns or adjustments you may need to make to your strategy. We're not just your financial advisors; we're your partners in planning for a secure and fulfilling retirement.

By working with NewMaker Financial, you're not just navigating Social Security; you're crafting a retirement strategy that's as unique as you are. Our holistic approach ensures that every piece of your financial puzzle fits perfectly together, creating a clear picture of your retirement future.

In the next section, we'll address some of the most frequently asked questions about Social Security, providing you with further insights to inform your retirement planning decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security

When planning for retirement, one of the most common questions is about when to draw Social Security. Let's dive into some of the most frequently asked questions to help you make a more informed decision.

Is it better to take Social Security at 62 or 67?

Choosing when to draw Social Security depends heavily on your personal circumstances. If you start at 62, you'll receive benefits longer, but your monthly payments will be reduced because you're taking them earlier. On the other hand, waiting until 67 means you'll receive 100% of your benefit amount.

  • At 62, you get benefits for a longer period, but each check is smaller.
  • At 67, you get larger checks, but you'll collect them for a shorter time.

Consider your health, financial needs, and whether you're still working. If you need the income or are in poor health, starting earlier might make sense. If you're still working and can afford to wait, delaying might be beneficial.

What is the #1 reason to take Social Security at 62?

The #1 reason many people choose to take Social Security at 62 is financial necessity. If you're unable to work or don't have enough savings to cover your expenses, starting your benefits early can help you make ends meet.

Taking Social Security early means your benefits will be reduced for the rest of your life. It's a decision that requires careful consideration of your current financial situation and future income needs.

At what age do most people draw Social Security?

Interestingly, despite the financial benefits of waiting, most people start drawing Social Security before reaching their full retirement age. According to the Social Security Administration, about 34% of men and 40% of women start receiving benefits at 62, the earliest age possible.

This trend underscores the importance of individual circumstances in deciding when to start taking benefits. Whether it's due to health issues, job loss, or insufficient savings, many find that drawing Social Security early is their best option.

Understanding when to draw Social Security is crucial for maximizing your benefits and ensuring financial stability in retirement. Consider your personal situation, consult with financial advisors, and use the resources available at NewMaker Financial to make the choice that's right for you. In our next section, we'll conclude our guide with final thoughts on making an informed decision and planning for a secure future with NewMaker Financial.


Deciding when to draw Social Security is a pivotal moment in your retirement planning journey. It's not just about picking a date; it's about making a choice that aligns with your life's tapestry – your health, financial needs, and dreams for the future. We've walked through the various ages you can start drawing benefits and the factors that might influence your decision. Now, it's time to bring it all together.

Making an Informed Decision isn't something to rush. It's about understanding the full picture, from how early withdrawal affects your benefits to how delaying can add more to your monthly checks. Every year you wait, up until age 70, your benefits increase. This isn't just a number game; it's your life and your future on the line.

Planning for the Future means looking beyond the immediate. It's easy to focus on the here and now, but your retirement could span decades. That's why it's crucial to consider how your choices today will impact your life 10, 20, or even 30 years down the road. Will you have enough to cover your needs? What about the lifestyle you wish to maintain? These are the questions that matter.

At NewMaker Financial, we're not just here to guide you through the maze of Social Security. We're your partners in building a retirement plan that's as unique as you are. From holistic vision planning to investment management and education, we're here to help you make the smartest financial decisions. Our approach is simple: we listen, we understand, and we plan together.

As you stand at the crossroads of deciding when to draw Social Security, you're not alone. With the right information and a trusted partner like NewMaker Financial, you can make a choice that secures your future and brings your retirement dreams within reach.

Let's plan for a future that's not just secure, but also rich in possibilities. Together, we can make it happen.