Retirement might be far in the future, or just around the corner. Either way, social security may be a major part of your retirement strategy.  Currently the full retirement age for Social Security is 66 – for those born after 1960, it’s 67. However, you can start to receive benefits as early as 62. But there’s a catch (there’s always a catch). You get less money per month the earlier you take benefits.

Early or Late: When To Take Social Security Benefits

Social Security - San Francisco, CaliforniaSo in deciding when to start taking Social Security benefits you are making projections about your need for income in the near term vs. your life expectancy in the long term. To be blunt, there’s no sense in waiting to take benefits until 67 if you pass away at 64! That said, many of us plan on living a longer life and in that case, you can be much better off financially if you wait to take benefits. And to make things even more complex, you can even take benefits, “early,” and then pay Social Security “back,” and thereby get the benefits at the higher rate!

Our June, 2015, San Francisco Tax Tips newsletter has an in-depth article on this timely topic.  You can read the official information from the Social Security website, at Retirement Planner: Delayed Retirement Credits. They have another informative article, called “Early or Late Retirement,” that is also worth a read. In San Francisco, you can find the Social Security offices at these locations:

1098 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA – Tel. 800-772-1213

560 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA – Tel. 800-772-1213

90 7th Street, San Francisco, CA – Tel. 800-772-1213

They have a nifty office locator, here.