24. Snap Judgment and Social Security: When Should You Claim It?

Choosing the age to start Social Security is probably the most important financial decision you will make in your life. All too often, though, it is an impulsive snap judgment with dire consequences—not for the breadwinner making the decision, but for the spouse.

Here are some financial facts that should go into the decision. For the average American, Social Security covers slightly more than 40% of monthly expenses. Currently, you can claim Social Security benefits starting at age 62 up until 70. The longer you wait, the higher the amount you get. Each year you wait, the amount you receive goes up by approximately another 7%. A four-year delay gets you about one-third more per ...

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