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. Gail C.

    Like to sign up in Novinger in 2015.

  2. Patsy C.

    My Husband is still working at age 63. Wants to work until full retirement age. Can I draw on his SS even if he is still working. I am 71.

    • Stephen

      Yes you can if he has filed. Then you can file for a spouse benefit. But if he makes too much money at work both his and your benefit will be forfeited. Most likely you would pay income tax on your benefit too. If he was at his full retirement age he could file and suspend his benefit allowing you to draw your spouse benefit and his working would not effect your benefit. My post is right above yours and we are in the same dilemma. It would take us 20 years to recoup the lost benefit if we wait until I was 66 years old to file. Your husband once he has reached his full retirement age which like mine is 66 yrs old can suspend his benefit even if he filed earlier. That would allow some delayed retirement benefit credits for him till age 70. That would allow you to keep your spouse benefit and his working would not effect your benefit. I have read numerous books on both Social Security and Medicare and these programs are convoluted and complicated.

  3. Stephen

    I turned 62 this February and my wife is a little over four years older than me. She has not earned enough credits to file for Social Security on her record. She cannot file for her spouse benefit until I file for my benefit. If we wait until I am 66 years old to file, it would take us until I was 86 and she 90 before we would break even as there is no more delay credits for her spouse benefit. When I quite working in Oct. I will file so she can file. If I was allowed to file and suspend at my current age I would do that so she could get her spouse benefit. I have a good pension and retirement savings. I will file early so we can net the most SS benefit over our combine lifespans under current rules. Maybe the rules need adjustment.

  4. Kathy

    How will this impact your medicare status and the 10% penality for not taking retirement at the correct age ? How does this impact the federal, city and state government off set for have worked 2 jobs to collect SS and a pension?

  5. Janet H.

    Is it true that if I want to delay FRA to age 67 that I can get a lump sum payment of the amount of money I would have collected between 66 and 67.I realize that it means that I would lose the 8% increase between 66 and 67.

    • Lorenzo D.

      Hello. If you delay applying for Social Security benefits past your full retirement age, you can receive up to six months of retroactive benefits. For example, if your full retirement age was 66 but you do not file for benefits until you are 66 and six months of age, you could get your missed six months of benefits paid to you as a lump sum. If you filed later than this (at age 67, for example), you would still only be able to get a maximum of six months of retroactive benefits. Hope this helps!

  6. HT

    I need this explained to me. Using the above figures if you wait until 66 to receive the extra $250 a month you’ll lose $36,000 ($750x12x4). It will take 12 years (age 78) to make that up ($36,000/extra250/12). If your average retirement is 20 years and you retire at 62 you’re only receiving 4 years of extra benefit. If you wait until 70 you’ll lose 8 years of $750 per month ($72,000) which will take you 10.5 years (age 80.5) to make that up ($72,000/extra 570/12). Again 20 years to 82 and you only get 1.5 years of extra benefit. That’s a hell of a crap shoot for a very small benefit. What am I missing??

  7. S T.

    Or, is it even possible to suspend benefits until age 70?

    • James L.

      Good question S T. A beneficiary who has reached full retirement age (FRA) may voluntarily ask that we suspend his or her benefits to earn voluntary delayed retirement credits (VOLDRC). To learn more about requesting suspension of benefits, you can go to and then visit your local Social Security office for further assistance if needed. To locate your nearest office, go to

  8. S T.

    If one is already receiving disability benefits, which automatically switch to retirement benefits at FRA, is there any point suspending benefits until age 70 to get the larger monthly amount? (assuming financial ability to suspend benefits in the first place!)

  9. Dr. R.

    If one will have FICA wages of $70,000 this year and has always had wages comparable to the ratio of this wage and the National Average Wage Index for past years, and if that person retires this year at age 66, the monthly benefit will be about $2,180. If future COLAs are 2% per year that person’s benefit at age 70 will be about $3,103 per month. At age 80 years and 2 months (breakeven age) the total benefits received by either choice will be about $437,432. The probablilty of a male surving from 66 to that age is about 62% and the probablilty of female is about 72%. If one survives beyond this age (a span of 14 years and 2 months) it will have been an economic mistake to have taken benefits at 66.

  10. May

    I retired at age 62. If I would have waited until I was 65 I would have received ONLY $50;00 more a month, At $50 more a month at age 65 it would have taken me 13 years to make the amount of money back that I collected between 62 and 65.

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