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When to claim

Suze Orman's Advice to Delay Social Security Benefits Until Age 70 is Too Broad

Noted financial adviser Suze Orman says most folks should begin Social Security retirement benefits at age 70.

However, this is poor advice if you're in poor health or if you're a notably lower-earning spouse relative to your husband or wife. Ideally, the spouse with the substantially higher lifetime earnings will let their benefit accrue at 8% per year until age 70.

Financial Advisor Suze Orman Recommends Claiming Social Security at Age 70

Noted personal finance advisor Suze Orman recommends that people claim Social Security retirement benefits at age 70.

Orman seems to base much of this advice on the fact that currently, Social Security will add a guaranteed 8 percent to your eventual monthly benefit for each year you defer benefits.

In today's low-interest rate environment, a guaranteed 8-percent increase in monthly benefits is notable.

Four Factors that Determine Your Social Security Retirement Benefit

Your Social Security retirement benefit largely depends on the following four factors :

* Your work history => Longer yields a higher benefit

* Your earnings history => Higher earnings yields higher benefit (at decreasing rate)

* Your birth year => Born earlier means higher relative benefit

* Your claiming age => Starting benefits later means higher benefit

Four Common Social Security Claiming Mistakes

1. Not knowing your full retirement age (FRA). 'Full benefit' retirement age is rising beyond age 65 to age 67.

2. Not knowing you can file for benefits three months in advance of receiving income

3. Forgetting Social Security benefits can be subject to income tax.

4. Thinking early filers can later receive 'full benefits'. If filing early, your benefits are permanently reduced.

The 'Optimal' Age to Claim Social Security Benefits : 65

According to a study, the optimal Social Security claiming age for a 55-year-old single man with a life expectancy of 76 is age 65, according to a HealthView Services analysis.

This of course depends on health and life expectancy, but since delaying Social Security benefits results in an 8 percent higher benefit, it's best to not claim early according to a HealthView Services analysis.

Three Questions to Ask Before Claiming Social Security

1. Am I in good health?

If yes, consider deferring benefits.

2. Will my claim affect anyone else?

Higher-earning spouses often benefit by waiting until their full retirement age or later to sign up for Social Security.

3. How reliant will I be on Social Security income?

If you don't have much in savings, and are in good health, consider continuing to work.

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Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration