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Beat the Average $1,661 Monthly Social Security Benefit With This Secret Strategy

Social Security benefits can be a lifeline for many seniors, but it can be tough to survive on your monthly checks alone. The average retiree only receives around $1,661 per month in benefits, which adds up to just under $20,000 per year.
Fortunately, there are ways to increase the size of your monthly payments. And there’s one strategy, in particular, that could boost your benefits by hundreds of dollars per month.
Image source: Getty Images.

How your age affects your benefit amount
The earliest you can begin claiming Social Security is age 62, but you can also file at any age after that. While waiting longer to start receiving benefits may not sound ideal, you will receive larger checks each month the longer you wait (up until age 70). 
To receive the full benefit amount you’re entitled to based on your earnings history, you’ll need to file at your full retirement age (FRA) — which is between ages 66 and 67, depending on the year you were born.
If you file as early as possible at age 62, your benefits will be reduced by up to 30%. But if you delay claiming benefits until age 70, you’ll receive your full benefit amount plus up to 32% extra each month. In some cases, that can amount to several hundred dollars per month.
For example, say you have a FRA of 67, and you’d receive $1,661 per month by filing at that age. If you were to claim at 62, your benefit amount would be reduced by 30%, leaving you with around $1,163 per month. Wait until 70, though, and you’d receive a 24% bonus on top of your full benefit amount, or roughly $2,060 per month. That’s nearly $900 more per month than if you’d claimed at 62.
Keep in mind, too, that once you claim, your benefit amount is generally locked in for life (save for annual cost-of-living adjustments). This means that if you claim early, your benefit amount will be permanently reduced. But if you delay benefits, you’ll earn larger checks for the rest of your life.
Is delaying benefits the right move for you?
Waiting even a year or two to file for Social Security can have a major impact on your monthly benefit amount. But it’s not the right strategy for everyone.
Delaying Social Security is often the best move for those who want to maximize their monthly income. The difference between filing at age 62 and waiting until 70 can be life-changing for some seniors, so it’s something to consider if your savings are falling short.
In some cases, though, you could be better off claiming earlier. For example, if you have reason to believe you may live a shorter-than-average lifespan, it may not make sense to delay Social Security. Depending on how long you live, you could potentially receive more over a lifetime if you file for benefits earlier.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer as to when you should begin claiming Social Security, but it’s important to understand all of your options. Delaying benefits isn’t right for everyone, but it can significantly increase the size of your monthly payments — making it easier for you to enjoy a more comfortable retirement.
The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. –

Social Security benefits can be a lifeline for many seniors, but it can be tough to survive on your monthly checks alone. The average retiree only receives around $1,661 per month in benefits, which adds up to just under $20,000 per year.

Fortunately, there are ways to increase the size of your monthly payments. And there’s one strategy, in particular, that could boost your benefits by hundreds of dollars per month.

Image source: Getty Images.

How your age affects your benefit amount

The earliest you can begin claiming Social Security is age 62, but you can also file at any age after that. While waiting longer to start receiving benefits may not sound ideal, you will receive larger checks each month the longer you wait (up until age 70). 

To receive the full benefit amount you’re entitled to based on your earnings history, you’ll need to file at your full retirement age (FRA) — which is between ages 66 and 67, depending on the year you were born.

If you file as early as possible at age 62, your benefits will be reduced by up to 30%. But if you delay claiming benefits until age 70, you’ll receive your full benefit amount plus up to 32% extra each month. In some cases, that can amount to several hundred dollars per month.

For example, say you have a FRA of 67, and you’d receive $1,661 per month by filing at that age. If you were to claim at 62, your benefit amount would be reduced by 30%, leaving you with around $1,163 per month. Wait until 70, though, and you’d receive a 24% bonus on top of your full benefit amount, or roughly $2,060 per month. That’s nearly $900 more per month than if you’d claimed at 62.

Keep in mind, too, that once you claim, your benefit amount is generally locked in for life (save for annual cost-of-living adjustments). This means that if you claim early, your benefit amount will be permanently reduced. But if you delay benefits, you’ll earn larger checks for the rest of your life.

Is delaying benefits the right move for you?

Waiting even a year or two to file for Social Security can have a major impact on your monthly benefit amount. But it’s not the right strategy for everyone.

Delaying Social Security is often the best move for those who want to maximize their monthly income. The difference between filing at age 62 and waiting until 70 can be life-changing for some seniors, so it’s something to consider if your savings are falling short.

In some cases, though, you could be better off claiming earlier. For example, if you have reason to believe you may live a shorter-than-average lifespan, it may not make sense to delay Social Security. Depending on how long you live, you could potentially receive more over a lifetime if you file for benefits earlier.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer as to when you should begin claiming Social Security, but it’s important to understand all of your options. Delaying benefits isn’t right for everyone, but it can significantly increase the size of your monthly payments — making it easier for you to enjoy a more comfortable retirement.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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