3 Awful Reasons to Start Taking Social Security Benefits at 70

Social Security is rather important to most of us — or it will be, at some point. Without the income it provides, more than 22 million Americans would be in poverty, according to a 2016 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

When you start collecting your Social Security retirement benefits will determine, to a large degree, just how big your checks are. You can start anytime between age 62 and 70, and delaying until 70 will result in fatter checks. But should you delay that long? Here are three bad reasons to wait until 70.

a social security card nestled among twenty dollar bills
Image source: Getty Images.

1. Because you think you can’t afford to retire earlier

If you’re just assuming that you can’t afford to retire earlier than age 70 and should just keep working until then, think again. That’s indeed the reality for many people, but it might not be so for you. You might not have enough socked away to retire right now, but there’s a good chance that if you get more aggressive about saving and you invest your money effectively, you can make your retirement happen sooner. Take some time to devise a plan, estimating how much income you’ll need in retirement and how you’ll get it. Here’s how much you might amass, depending on how far from retirement you are:

Growing at 8% for

$5,000 invested annually

$10,000 invested annually

$15,000 invested annually

5 years




10 years




15 years




20 years




25 years



$1.2 million

30 years


$1.2 million

$1.8 million

Some or much of your nest egg might be used to buy fixed annuity income, and/or it could be parked in dividend-paying stocks. A $300,000 portfolio with an average dividend yield of 4% will generate $12,000 per year — $1,000 per month. There are ways to boost your income in retirement, too.

Remember also that many people who plan to retire at 70 or later end up retiring earlier, due to an unexpected job loss, or a health setback, or having to care for a loved one, among other reasons. In retirement planning, it makes sense to aim to be able to retire as early as possible. That’s not a pie-in-the-sky goal, either — you might be able to do it!

2. Because you think bigger checks will always mean getting more from Social Security

You can make your retirement benefit check bigger than what you’d get if you started collecting at…

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