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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

Assuming I begin taking my retirement benefit at age 62 instead of age 66, at what point is the breakeven year or age? I've been told it's approximately 13 years. Is that true?

En español | En español | For most people the choice about when to take benefits involves much more than trying to figure out the age or year when the value of delaying the benefit is precisely equal to the value of taking the benefit early. The break-even strategy is based on your estimated benefit at early and normal retirement age and your estimate of how long you plan to live. Determining when to claim Social Security based on this strategy alone is not recommended unless you have substantial assets. If you claim benefits early and live past your estimated break-even age, then you have forfeited additional benefits that could have been paid to you had you waited.

A better strategy is to look at all your sources of retirement income and group them by guaranteed versus uncertain and determine how to secure as much of your financial needs using your guaranteed resources. In the case of Social Security, delaying claiming the inflation-protected benefit means that you will be receiving a guaranteed higher benefit than when claiming early.

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