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. sandy

    How many years do you have to work to be eligable for ss benefits?

    • teresita

      what if i will go to hawaii by next month,will i get my pension even though i’m in hawaii?

    • James L.

      Sandy, generally you will need to have 40 credits, or 10 years of work paying Social Security taxes, to qualify for any type of Social Security benefit. For a complete explanation of credits needed for the different types of benefits, check out

  2. dennis

    750 per month at 62 and 1 month , you would have 95 payments by age 70 of 71,250.00 plus cola adjustments each year . if you waited to 70 you would have nothing at age 70. you cant draw ss at 62. you have to be 62 and 1 month. if you live only a few months past the breakeven age , you want be ahead by much. the difference between drawing ss at 62 & one month and 63 & one month is less than waiting one more year to 64 & one month

  3. Judy C.

    I meet all the requirements for receiving part of my ex husbands SS in 2016 when he turns 62 (2 yr younger). I want to continue to work, draw that SS until I am 70 then stop his and start drawing my own SS. Does this sound doable?

  4. Floyd

    As you state, it’s a personal decision that should include consideration of many factors. If an individual has other retirement assets and doesn’t need SS for a few years, I do think there can be cases where it makes a lot of sense for the higher wage earner (in a marriage where both are eligible to receive benefits) to wait until age 70. For example, if the FRA for both is 66, and the lower earner is 4 years younger, and both anticipate living into their late 80’s-early 90’s, there are exceptions in the SS rules that allow the lower earner to claim at 62, and the higher earner at FRA (66) to file a “restricted claim for spousal benefit only” while there benefit receives an 8% increase for 4 years (to age 70). It’s my understanding that, depending on the numbers, the lower earner may switch to a spousal benefit when they reach FRA, based on the higher earners FRA benefit (provided this is a greater number, after adjustment for the early claim on their own benefit). . This provides more income during their later years when other funds may begin to dwindle. Perhaps more importantly, if the higher earner pre-deceases the lower earner, the survivor is entitled to receive the full amount that was being received by the deceased.
    Yes, it’s complicated. But depending on your situation and the assumptions you choose, it can be a more beneficial solution.

    • AZclg

      Floyd, questioning what you said about the benefit of a deceased spouse. My mom earned more than my dad who is deceased. Is it correct she only gets a prorated amount of his SS? She is living on $1,114 a month and just doesnt seem right.

  5. Marlene S.

    Divorced after 24 years of marriage / older than ex-spouse / his birth year is 1948 – mine is 1942 – how can find out when he begins to draw SS & if his is greater than mine – can I draw from his rather than mine.

    • James L.

      Marlene, stay tuned later this week because we’ll have a blog entry that talks about ex-spouses benefits, but in the meantime here’s some info. If you are eligible for benefits on your own record as well as on your ex-spouse’s record, you may have options when it comes to choosing when to claim each one. It may be helpful for you to read our web page, “If You Are Divorced,” at To find out how much you are eligible for on each record and to discuss your options, contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday or visit your local Social Security office. To find your local office, please visit

  6. Pedro

    To all those who kindly took the time to respond, I’d like to express my sincere thanks. I came to this country about 13 years ago, worked for 10 years, became a proud American in the process but never had a highly paid salary. I stopped working two years ago due to health limitations and, therefore, have not contributed anymore. That is why I assumed that SS will also considered in the equation not only the 10 years I worked but, also, the ones I have not worked until I finally ask for my pension. Again, many thanks.

  7. Mike

    A big consideration has to be your health. If you wait until 70 to retire will you be able to enjoy that extra income or will your health prevent you from doing anything other than the norm. Personally I’d rate retire early and enjoy life. But this was also a decision my spouse and I made together because what one does affects the other when you look at a death benefit.

    • KS

      Agreed. We’re all rolling the dice when it comes to our health in retirement. It’s a crap-shoot at best. Also think about it this way. Hopefully we were all good, hard working savers our entire lives. Why would we throw all those principles out the door at 62 and gamble on how long we’re going to live? You’re supposed to get more conservative with your money and investments when you approach retirement, not gamble 5-8 years of potential earnings. Of course the government wants us to delay, the payout is less in the long run! Take the money as soon as you can, especially if you think you’ll have some health issues, and enjoy retirement. The early years are known as the “go-years” for a reason. That’s when we’ll enjoy it the most because we’ll still be active. Waiting to claim benefits until you get close to the “no-go years” is a huge gamble!

      • Papai

        U r right Take it when u can .Im 61 n retired .I was lucky my job pays me a supplement until I get to 62 .im enjoying life right now dancing n camping ..70 is a long way so what if I get to 70 n I can’t go anywhere or do fun things .? The big checks will go to meds .

  8. Walt

    What everyone is forgetting is that you are eligible to take half of your spouses SS from 66 to 70 and still delay yours until 70. So, in those four years, you are virtually losing 2 years of SS which brings your break even point to your middle 70’s.

  9. Kim

    Pedro- You will still get a higher benefit amount at age 70 whether you continue to work or not (assuming you have 40 quarters in earnings and otherwise qualify). The benefit should be 133% of your full retirement age amount.

  10. Jean-Paul

    According to the 2015 SS manual in PDF, “You do NOT receive any delayed collecting bonus of Social Security benefits after age 69.”
    Therefore, your number are wrong for one, and, at the very best case scenario, you could possibly reap a 24% increase in benefits if you wait until 70 to retire.

    • Mike

      You are reading this wrong. What they mean by after age 69 is your birthday month at age 70. If you take benefits at age 69 and 11 months, it will be .67% lower than if you wait until the month of your 70th birthday.

      • Mike

        But it will not increase if you wait until age 70 plus 1 month.

      • Gil

        Is the following true: I filed for social security when I was 69 years and 4 months. My first check was sent August 2016. The amount was what I had accrued as of January 2016. I was told that the July amount would not happen till the early months of 2017. Also they said I would not receive any adjustment for the months that I was underpaid. Is this true.? Is this fair?

        • Ray F.

          We would need more detail information to try and answer your question Gil. Unfortunately, but for your security, we do not have access to personal records in this venue. We encourage you to contact your local Social Security office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for further assistance and a thorough explanation. Thanks.

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