The Best Age for YOU to Retire

May 12, 2015 • By

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Last Updated: May 12, 2015

A smiling older man outside holding binoculars You may be trying to figure out what the most beneficial age is to say goodbye to your colleagues at the office. This is one of the most important and challenging decisions you’ll make in your life. When you decide to retire affects not only you, but it could have serious, long-lasting consequences for your family members, too. The answer is not the same for everybody, and I’m going to share some information that can help you make an informed decision based on your own personal situation.

If you delay receiving your Social Security until age 70, the monthly amount is 32 percent more than you would get at full retirement age.

From a Social Security standpoint, you can start getting lower benefits as early as age 62, or you can delay retirement up to age 70 for your maximum monthly benefit amount.

For example: Let’s say your full retirement age for Social Security benefits is 66, and your monthly benefit at that age is $1,000. Here’s what your monthly benefit would be, starting at different ages:

* Age 62 = $750
* Age 63 = $800
* Age 64 = $866
* Age 65 = $933
* Age 66 = $1,000
* Age 67 = $1,080
* Age 68 = $1,160
* Age 69 = $1,240
* Age 70 = $1,320

At age 62, your benefit amount is about 25 percent lower than your full benefit at age 66. If you delay receiving your Social Security until age 70, the monthly amount is 32 percent more than you would get at full retirement age. From 62 to 70, that comes to a monthly increase of $570 or $6,840 a year.

When to retire is a personal decision that you should base on factors such as your current cash needs, your health, and family longevity, whether you have other retirement income sources, and of course, your anticipated future financial needs and obligations. Remember, the average retirement will last for about 20 years, and Social Security benefits are typically adjusted annually for inflation to help maintain your standard of living. For more information, visit

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About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. Jose B.

    I want retire next Monht when I’ll be 66 for my full retirement(July 23)
    If I fill out application now,it don’t afect my complete retirement?

    • V.V.

      Thanks for using our blog, Jose. Our system is set up to take applications four months in advance of when you want your benefits to begin. And, when you’re ready, you can apply for your benefits online. We hope this is helpful!

  2. Patti M.

    Where do I apply for my ex-husbands SSI?

    • V.V.

      Hi Patty, thanks for using our blog. If you are divorced and currently unmarried, you may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record if your marriage lasted 10 years or longer. Your benefit as a divorced spouse can be equal to one-half of your ex’s full retirement amount only if you start receiving those benefits at your full retirement age. If you begin to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to your full retirement age, your benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits you qualify for once you opt to start benefits at age 62 or at any time prior to your full retirement age.

      Remember, if you qualify for your own retirement benefits and for benefits as a divorced spouse, we always pay your own retirement benefits first. If your benefits as a divorced spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher divorced spouse benefit.

      See our Retirement Planner: If You’re Divorced for other eligibility requirements and more detailed information.

      You can apply online by using our Social Security Retirement/Medicare Benefit Application to apply for retirement, spouse’s,divorced spouse’s or Medicare benefits.

  3. Phyllis

    If my full retirement age is 66, If I continue to work how much can I make and do I have to pay back money to Socialp security?

    • V.V.

      Hi Phyllis, thank you for the question. When you reach full retirement age, your earnings no longer reduce your benefits, no matter how much you earn.

      Also, as long as you continue to work and receive benefits, we will check your record every year to see whether the additional earnings will increase your monthly benefit. If there is an increase, we will send you a letter telling you of your new benefit amount.

      For more details, visit our Getting Benefits While Working web page.

  4. Charles i.

    So the estimations I have been provided of benefits based on age are for age 62, 65 and my full retirement age. Are benefits increased at age 63 and age 64 at a certain time if year? If I am one month away from age 63, does my benefit increase immediately at 63, or is there a lag between birthday and increase in benefit?

    • L.A.

      Hi Charles. Your monthly benefit amount will be different depending on the age you start receiving it. The longer you wait, the higher the amount of the benefits. If you choose to start your benefits early, they will be reduced based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach your full retirement age. If you wait until full retirement age, your benefits will not be reduced. Full retirement age is the age at which a person may first become entitled to full or unreduced retirement benefits. Keep in mind, however, any benefit estimates you receive assume you will work at the same rate and amount. If this changes, it may affect your estimate. To check estimates with what if scenarios such as these, use our Online Retirement Estimator. To help you plan for the future, you can use our Retirement Planner and you can also create a personal my Social Security account to verify your earnings, get your Social Security Statement, and much more. We hope this helps.

  5. Michael D.

    My full retirement age is 66 8 months. Do I have to wait till then to retire and draw 1 year in advance.

  6. d p.

    there is 18 years age different between my brother and his wife.if my brother reached at 66 and starts his social security, his wife also get something or she has to wait till she reach 66?

    • A.C.

      Good question! His spouse may be eligible if she is at least age 62 and your brother is receiving retirement or disability benefits. Keep in mind if she is caring for his children who is also receiving benefits, she may also be eligible for benefits. For more information, check out our Benefits Planner: Benefits for Your Family web page. Thanks!

  7. Juanita H.

    I do not see the page to apply for my husbands benefits as his widow

    • V.V.

      Hi Juanita, thank you for using our blog. We are very sorry for your loss. You cannot apply for survivor benefits online. To apply for survivor benefits, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to make an appointment with your local Social Security office. Representatives are available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also call or visit your local Social Security office.

  8. Sandria M.

    I turn 66 March 24, 2019. When do I need to apply for my Social Security benefits?

    • V.V.

      Hi Sandra, thank you for using our blog to ask your question. Social Security benefits are paid the month after they are due. So, for instance, if you want your benefits to begin with the month of March, you will receive your first benefit payment in April. The exact payment date is determined by your date of birth. For future pay days, you may find the Schedule of Social Security Payments calendars useful.

      Keep in mind that you can apply four months before you want your benefits to start. When you’re ready to apply for retirement benefits, use our online retirement application, the quickest, easiest, and most convenient way to apply.

  9. Adrian R.

    If I retire at 62 and I still have a school age child. Will my child receive benefits

  10. Lawrence D.

    What do I need to do if I like to collect my SS: at 66 this coming April? 2019
    What is the amount I’ll collect?
    When do I need to notify SS: if I want to receive this April?

    Thank you

    • R.F.

      Hello Lawrence. Our system is set up to take applications four months in advance, and you can apply for your benefits online. Remember that benefits are paid the month after they are due. So, for instance, if you want your benefits to begin with the month of April, you will receive your first benefit payment in May.
      You can get your personal Social Security Statement online by using your my Social Security account. Your online Statement gives you secure and convenient access to your earnings records. It also shows estimates for retirement, disability and survivors benefits you and your family may be eligible for.
      Please visit our Social Security Retirement Planner for more information. Thanks!

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