Though you don’t want to rely on Social Security exclusively, to be realistic it is going to be a factor for almost everyone who is planning for retirement.
You have some serious decisions to make when it comes to your Social Security application. If you make the right ones given your situation and your goals you will be able to enjoy your retirement all the more.
Should you make the wrong ones you may find yourself living a diminished quality of life as a senior citizen.
The amount of your benefit can vary widely. Some people choose to retire early, applying for Social Security at the age of 62. This may sound like a good idea, but your monthly benefit will be significantly reduced as a result.
Another option would be to wait until you reach the age of full eligibility as it is defined by the Social Security Administration. For people born between 1943 and 1954 this age is 66.
If you retire early you are penalized if you earn money above a certain amount on a job. There is no such penalty if you wait until you reach full retirement age.
You may also want to consider earning delayed retirement credits. You do this by choosing not to apply for Social Security as soon as you become eligible for your full benefit.
You can increase your benefit by 8% for every year that you delay your application. However, it should be noted that this accrual of credits ceases once you celebrate your 70th birthday, so there is no incentive to delay your application beyond this point in time.
In the end the choice is yours, and there is something that could be said for all of these options. However, delaying your retirement is a way to maximize your Social Security income, and for many this is the preferred choice.