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If I retire at 62 instead of my full retirement age, what is the Social Security break-even age?

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 full 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, you will 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, group them as guaranteed or uncertain, and determine how to secure as much of your financial needs as possible 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.

Published October 10, 2018

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