4 Ways Claiming Social Security Benefits Early Could Work for You

Yes, by taking Social Security before your full retirement age you would be locking in a lower benefit for life, but in some cases it can still be a good option. Don’t let conventional wisdom substitute for studying your own situation and identifying what makes sense for you.

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When financial professionals talk about “maximizing” your Social Security income, generally what they’re really advising is that you wait as long as possible before claiming your benefits.

Often, that makes perfect sense. After all, if you start your retirement benefits at age 62 (the earliest you can file), your monthly amount will be up to 30% less than it would be if you waited until your full retirement age. And that reduction is permanent. On the flip side, for every year you wait to file after your full retirement age — until you reach age 70 — you’ll get an extra 8% in delayed retirement credits.

Waiting can make a substantial difference in the check you receive every month. But that doesn’t make it the best strategy for everyone. For many retirees, there are good reasons to claim those benefits as early as possible.

Here are a few examples of when claiming earlier rather than later can be the right choice for you:

Written by Jason Lambert, president, CEO and portfolio manager of Vancouver, Wash.-based Northwest Financial & Tax Solutions (www.nwfts.net (opens in new tab)). He co-hosts "The Retirement Trailhead" radio show, and he hosts the "Peaks and Valleys" podcast. He holds a degree in finance from Auburn University.

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC (opens in new tab) or with FINRA (opens in new tab).

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

Jason Lambert, Investment Adviser Representative
President, CEO, Northwest Financial and Tax Solutions

Jason Lambert is president, CEO and portfolio manager of Vancouver, Wash.-based Northwest Financial & Tax Solutions (www.nwfts.net (opens in new tab)). He co-hosts "The Retirement Trailhead" radio show, and he hosts the "Peaks and Valleys" podcast. He holds a degree in finance from Auburn University.