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5 Key Points to Consider Before You Claim Social Security

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When you hit your 60s, it’s time for you and Social Security to come to a reckoning.

After all, it’s likely you have been paying into Social Security for decades, and now you have a choice to make: Claim your benefit early, claim it right on schedule, or postpone claiming it.

Unfortunately, no perfect answer exists to make this easy. What’s best for your neighbor may be different from what’s best for your cousin, which in turn may be different for what’s best for you.

You can claim Social Security as early as age 62, but there’s a catch. The amount of your monthly checks will be reduced, and that reduction is for life. To qualify for your full benefit, you need to postpone claiming until your full retirement age, which for most people is between 66 and 67.

But there also is a benefit to waiting until you are 70, because you are rewarded with an even larger monthly check if you do.

As you ponder this momentous decision, here are five key points to keep in mind:

Would you like to continue to work even after you start drawing Social Security? You can, but be aware: There’s a limit to how much you can earn if you haven’t reached full retirement age. If you earn more than what’s allowed for the year, your benefit is reduced by $1 for every $2 you go over the maximum. This rule begins to ease up in the year when you reach full retirement age. During that year, the benefit is reduced by........

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