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Waiting to File for Social Security Benefits Is Hard, but Payoff Is Sweet

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Imagine if, when you were a kid, your mom baked your favorite pie and made you an offer:

She could slice a piece for you right then, pop it on your plate and let you eat it. But if you waited until after dinner, your slice would be bigger. And if you could hold off until bedtime, the piece would be even bigger. Not just that day, but for the rest of your life. Every time you had pie for dessert, the size of your slice would be based on the decision you made that day.

I guess we would all like to think we’d have the discipline to wait for the biggest slice possible. Because who doesn’t want more pie?

But what if you’d helped your mom bake that pie, and felt you had earned your slice and had been waiting long enough? Or what if you were legitimately hungry and thought you might need the pie to survive? And what if you had to watch others eat their pie while you waited, worried there wouldn’t be any left by the time you got your slice?

I’m sure you can see where I’m going. The justifications for taking that smaller piece of pie are many. I know, because I hear similar reasons all the time from soon-to-be retirees who want to claim their Social Security benefits at 62 or 63, or their full retirement age (for most, that’s between 66 and 67). It’s just so tempting — even if they know delaying until they’re 70 will get them a bigger monthly payment for the rest of their life.

Many are eager to start their retirement as soon as possible, and they want or need the Social Security income to do that. Some want to claim their benefits and invest the........

© Kiplinger

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