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When to collect Social Security - Over discussed I know!

Yes, we've talked this one to death, but I'm still struggling.  I've come to the conclusion that if you have adequate retirement savings, the issue of when to take Social Security is pretty much a wash assuming you make to to age 80 and beyond.  I was first inclined to wait to age 70.  Then I decided, no.  Take it at age 66 when I reach FRA.  Now, I'm struggling once again.  The big  benefit I see to waiting to age 70 is that if you look at it as a guaranteed annuity, for me it's an extra $800 bucks a month inflation adjusted of guaranteed income.  Is it worth the deferred gratification?  I still don't know
Over simplifying

If you receive $2500 for 48 months that's $120,000, If you invest the money as it comes in at 2.8% at age 70 you will have $126,800 iff you withdraw $800 per month and continue to earn 2.8% you will exhaust the funds in month 246, age 86 1/2.

This ignores taxes, whether you are still working, COLA and what the value of a dollar is today in buying power compared to 20 years from now.

Also you may have lower taxes now than when you must take MRD from a 401k at age 70 1/2. Some states exempt a portion of SS and Ret account withdrawals which you may miss. You could also make withdrawals of $2500 from an IRA and wait for the SS to age 70.

Are you confident on that the government will never decide SS should be need based?

Would you enjoy the money now more than at 70?

There is no right answer unless you know how long you will live.

I plan to take SS in a few months at 65 and Medicare at the same time but I may delay to 65 1/2 or 66 my FRA.

An actuary once told me take the money as soon as you can. Ask 3 people you will get 4 opinions.
This is a point that's very important. The cost for waiting is literally tens of thousands of dollars--oftentimes six figures of CASH PAID IN ADVANCE before you receive your first penny by delaying. Its not the only factor--and there are many great reasons to delay. But this is a very big factor in favor of earlier rather than later.
xlar is exactly right. The only way there is a right or wrong answer to this question turns on our advance knowledge of the date of our death which none of us know. The only thing certain is that if you are still working and have earned income, taking benefits early (before FRA) is foolish because they penalize your benefit. I think there might be many people for whom this is a life altering decision. But it is not so for me. My FRA is 66 + 2 months and that's when mine will begin. I won't delay beyond that.
This is incredibly simple for my spouse and me.  We both turned 62 this year and we both took SS right away. It will prove to be the right call if we die young.  It will prove to be the wrong call (financially) if we live to a ripe old age.  If we live to a ripe old age, we won't be sitting around muttering about what might have been had we taken SS later. We'll be sitting around thanking God for granting us the extra time on his green earth. Another thing:  I am a way better investor than Uncle Sam. The more money in our investment accounts that stays put, the better we'll be in the long run. So Uncle Sam can electronically fund our checking account in the here and now, while we withdraw less from our index ETF funds (averaging over 9%/yr.)z.  Of course, all this is against a backdrop of living well beneath our means in the past, present, and future.  Any age for taking SS can be the best call, if you die in the correct year. Waiting a long time to take SS requires a less aggressive, bond-ish,  lower risk portfolio, with associated lowers returns, costing the investor some serious money. Having stayed fully invested during some of the most harrowing down slides over the past 40 year, we have learned to disobey our fears and keep our players on the field. Eschew advice from the tip sheet hawkers on TV.  Obey Bogle and Buffet. Stay out of Pharma, cause they are a mafia that takes and does not contribute to society. Cheers!
I agree it is difficult to sort out. Initially we were both going to wait until 70 years old to take social security. We would live off other bond interest and available cash in the interim. There are many different ways to start it.
I am 67 years old and wife 65 years old. So, we decided to start social security when wife is 66 years old, this Sep 2018. I will start taking half of wife's social security monthly payout. Then, when I am 70 years old, I will switch to my own higher monthly payout. Wife would continue at her set 66 years old payout.
We did many spreadsheet scenarios - early, late, estimated health, taking half of spouse's rate, etc looking at assumed best payout. Even so, we really do not know the Federal government future payment plans or our future health. One can only try to do their best and accept that after decisions are made they should be accepted.
Good luck in your endeavors.
I go back and forth on when to take it as well. Wait until 70, take it at 67, take it at 62. Have my wife start hers, then do the spousal on mine later. I can build a case for anyone of those ages. If it were just a numbers decision, I would take it at 70, but its more complicated than that.
So for me the decision is based on these main factors:
Will I fit the same pattern of aging as just about everybody else, go go, go slow, no go? Probably.
Would I like to have more money in my go go years? Yes.
Do I have coverage for LTC to help me in my no go years when health care costs spike? Yes.
Will the SS system be altered in the future? Highly likely.
So with that said, today my choice would be to have my wife take hers, a lower amount, at 62. I will take mine at full retirement at 67 and she will switch over to the spousal benefit on mine.
All this is subject to change. LOL.
Fishindude - Possible smaller factor: if getting Medicare, it is convenient to have that premium deducted from the SS payment.
I plan to start before 65, mostly because I could use some of that income and would like to do a lot of traveling in my 60s. I've seen too many people defer (because they needed it as part of their income stream) with a plan to travel in their 70s, only to see their health begin to fail. You just don't know when the wheels will start to fall off, but the chances of truly enjoying that income in your 60s is a heck of a lot higher than in your 70s...just my opinion.

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