A study by The Harris Poll and the Nationwide Retirement Institute found significant Social Security knowledge gaps for Americans who are not yet receiving their benefits. By and large, Americans should start planning their Social Security strategy in their early 50s.
The best organizational strategies to optimize Social Security include these action steps:
1. Get your personal longevity estimates and probabilities. The Social Security Administration maintains a life expectancy calculator that will tell you the average number of additional years a person with your date of birth and gender can expect to live. Another resource is LongevityIllustrator.org.
2. Focus on “joint longevity” if you’re in a couple. Notice how joint longevity is likely about five years longer than each of your individual longevity.
3. Play both sides of the odds. In other words, if you want the higher monthly payout, file for the higher benefit later than you would have otherwise. This helps you and your widow(er) and gives you more money if you live a longer-than-average life.
Or, if you’re not sure you can wait, file for the lower benefit earlier than you would have otherwise. This helps you get money from Social Security now and helps lessen the pain of waiting on the higher Social Security amount.
This bit of advice is taken from a great article in U.S. News. We encourage you to read the entire article for more information regarding your SSA planning.