My mom finally called the other day to find out about taking my dad’s social security payments. We have been telling her to look into it now that she is getting close to the retirement age, and I wanted her to find out the different monthly dollar amounts she would receive if she started taking payments now at 65, in a few years at 67, or in 5 years at 70 years old. I am so glad that she called, as after she listened to the guy at the SS office and letting me run some numbers, we decided it was best for her to start taking the payments now rather than waiting a little. While some people think it’s a bad thing to take the payments somewhat early, I figured it was actually beneficial to my mom to do so.
The guy at the SS office explained it like this – while you could realistically expect maybe an extra $100 per month (more or less) for life if you wait a little longer, you are also giving up a few thousand dollars each month by waiting to take anything. Let’s look at the math for a second, with some hypothetical numbers:
Scenario #1 – Mom waits 2 years to start taking monthly payments. Payment at that point is $2,000 per month. If she lives till she is 85, that’s a total of $432,000 being paid out over 18 years.
Scenario #2 – Mom starts taking payments now at 65 years old. Payments would be $1,875 per month. If she lives to the same 85 years old, she would be paid a total of $450,000 over 20 years.
See the difference? Just by giving up $125 per month and starting to take the payments now, she has the potential to receive much more in payments over the long term. The guy at the SS office was right – sure, you may be giving up a little per month for life by taking payments now, but how many thousands are you giving up per month until you start taking the payments? So if you or a loved one is nearing Social Security age and contemplating when to take the benefits, make sure you do the math and see the whole picture – not just the monthly dollar amount. Giving up a little bit each month could mean getting much more in the long term!
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