Social Security was never meant to replace 100% of a worker's income in retirement. However, among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, about 12% of men and 15% of women still rely on Social Security benefits for 90% or more of their income.
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Regardless of whether Social Security is your primary source of income or just a supplement to your personal savings, there are steps you can take to maximize your benefit. One of those is to defer claiming until age 70, which is the latest age you can file for benefits. Here's what the average Social Security payout is at age 70, along with a brief description of how benefits work.
Average Social Security Benefit at 70
As of December 2021, the most recent year for which data is available, the average Social Security benefit at age 70 was $1,768.94. This is up 8.3% from December 2020, when the average benefit for a 70-year-old was $1,632.82.
Bear in mind that the average Social Security benefit at age 70 is by definition higher than the average Social Security benefit for all retirees, as 70 is the latest age at which you can file for benefits. As of January 2022, the overall average benefit was $1,657.
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How Early Can You Claim Social Security?
The earliest you can file for Social Security benefits is age 62. However, your monthly benefit will be permanently reduced. This is demonstrated most clearly in the data, which shows that the average benefit for 62-year-olds as of December 2021 was $1,259.85.
Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that filling at age 62 is a bad strategy. Although your benefits take a significant hit, you'll also be earning that money over a much longer time period. Claiming benefits at age 62 instead of 70 means that you'll receive an additional 96 monthly payments. This goes a long way toward making up for the lower checks you'll be receiving.
As the right Social Security claiming strategy depends on a number of individual variables, such as your health and your personal financial situation, it's always best to speak with a financial advisor about your options.
What Are the Benefits of Waiting To File Until Age 70?
The primary benefit of waiting to file for Social Security until age 70 is that your benefits receive a permanent - and sizable - increase. Waiting to file at age 70 instead of "full retirement age" of 67 means your benefits will rise by 24%, or 8% per year.
The comparison is even more dramatic if you compare filling at age 70 instead of the first allowable age of 62. Although every individual's situation will be different, the Social Security Administration provides an example in which filing at age 62 instead of age 70 resulted in a reduction in benefits of 77%.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: What Is the Average Social Security Benefit at Age 70?