We all think we know the basics about social security, but do we really know how different the benefits can be? The standard retirement age is between 65 and 67, depending on your birthdate. Your monthly income, also called your PIA, is determined by your highest 35 years of indexed earnings. You can start taking benefits as early as age 62, but your monthly income will be reduced by at least 25%. Or you can delay until age 70 and your monthly income will be 32% higher. Your strategy needs to be based upon a number of factors, like how much retirement income you need. Other sources of income, income taxes, and your general health condition. Other factors also weigh like survivor needs, divorce dependent children, and available liquid assets. Proper planning requires attention to all these details.
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