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When should you start collecting Social Security?

When is the right age to start collecting Social Security?

If you’re between the ages of 62 and 70, you’re eligible for Social Security. But when should you take it? Allan Sloan, senior editor-at-large for Fortune Magazine, tackled the topic in Fortune’s annual investor guide. And he says it depends.

Conventional wisdom suggests you wait out as long as you can for the biggest monthly payments. Sloan and his wife chose to start collecting at age 67.

“The question becomes, do you need the money? Are you still working? And when do you think you’re going to die?”

Click on the audio player above to hear more from Allan Sloan about taking social security.

About the author

Allan Sloan is a senior editor-at-large for Fortune magazine.
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Mr. Sloan's advice is to wait as long as you can before taking Social Security if you expect to live a long life and to take it earlier if you expect to live a shorter than average life or if you need the money to live on. That's sound advice for an individual. For married couples there are hundreds of ways for them to structure their Social Security. This is due to the fact that Social Security provides what is called spousal benefits. With spousal benefits a person may receive a higher payment based on their spouse's benefit instead of just their own. Taking individual benefits and/or spousal benefits at different ages combines with the varied discrepancies between spouses income to create a morass of options.

This topic deserves much more than two minutes on MarketPlace. I would suggest that this topic is worthy of an entire episode of MarketPlace Money or its own special podcast.

My mom retired at 62 after working for 37 years. She elected to start taking social security right away because her mother died young at age 50, as did her father and her grandparents, so she felt like she had better not wait. This was her rationale. Fortunately, she is in good health, but I agree with her decision.

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