Some may say my opinion on when to claim Social Security sounds wishy washy. That’s because my recommendation will vary based on your situation! Really, you need to have a personalized discussion with an advisor on when take Social Security. Nonetheless, here are a few thoughts to consider before you claim!

1.  Are you employed?

2.  Can you tolerate not having a paycheck?

3.  Do you have enough income to cover your expenses?

4.  What is your portfolio size?

5.  Do you have longevity in your family history?

I’ll explain why these questions matter:

1. Are you employed?

If you are employed AND you earn Social Security, it’s likely you will have to pay more taxes on that Social Security income. If you are an individual earning more than $34,000, up to 85% of your Social Security benefit could be taxed at your regular income tax rate.

Therefore, I *often* think that if you are working, you should *probably* postpone claiming Social Security until after age 70 (when that tax penalty goes away).

2. Can you tolerate not having a paycheck?

Some people retire at age 60 with enough saved where they can afford to not claim Social Security until age 67.

Note this though: “afford” and “tolerate” are different. Your portfolio might cover your expenses with no problem, but people often mentally struggle with anxiety and fear if they retire and suddenly have no paycheck.

For some people, Social Security might need to be that paycheck to give them peace of mind.

3. Do you have enough income to cover your expenses?

If you have other fixed income from a pension, rental property, etc. you might not need the extra income from Social Security right away. If that’s the case, you might consider not claiming it yet. Why? Because every year after your Full Retirement Age that you delay claiming, your benefit increases by 8% a year (or .66% a month).

So, if you can afford it, consider waiting to claim to earn that increased benefit later.

4. What is your portfolio size?

This is definitely where you want to talk to a financial advisor. For some people, if they delay claiming Social Security until age 70, they will have to withdraw more from their portfolio during those early retirement years. I’ve seen many situations where it is detrimental to a client’s financial plan. Their portfolio has trouble recovering.

However, if your withdrawals are low enough and your portfolio is large enough, the opposite could be true. Ask your advisor to run an analysis for you.

5. Do you have longevity in your family history?

This goes back to the Social Security benefit increasing by 8% a year if you delay claiming. If every member of your family only lived until age 75 before dying of heart disease, well, you might want to consider claiming earlier so you can get as many total dollars out as possible.

If everyone in your family lived to be 100, you should seriously consider delaying claiming. But remember!! This needs to be considered along with #4.


There is a lot to consider before claiming Social Security. Many clients feel overwhelmed by the decision. Do your research, understand your own personal feelings on finance, understand your current financial situation, and come to the most educated decision you can! In the end, no one knows the future, your life span, or your portfolio’s returns, so we all just need to make the most logical decision we can. Asking for advice from a professional you trust helps too!