What's the best age to take Social Security?
When to take Social Security depends mostly on how long you expect to live. The longer you think you'll live, the more it makes sense to wait until full retirement age to take benefits.
As a rule of thumb, if you think you'll live at least until 80, you'll probably want to take Social Security on or after full retirement age (67 for most people). Otherwise, you'll probably want to take Social Security before full retirement age.
The rule of thumb doesn't always apply. For instance, if you are low on savings and need the money, you may want to take Social Security earlier.
If you'd like to see how Social Security and all your other financial decisions fit into your specific financial situation, give our free planner tool a try.
How it works
If you take payments at a younger age you may get a few extra years of payments, but your payments will be lower. If you take payments later you'll miss out on a few years of payments, but you'll get more with every Social Security check. Eventually, if you live long enough, a fewer large checks becomes a greater total of money paid to you than more small checks.
If you want to get a more accurate picture of your Social Security estimate and build a retirement plan that doesn't leave money on the table, try Harbor's Planner for free.