When do most people begin taking Social Security?
The most common age that Americans file for Social Security is 62, the earliest age at which they are eligible. In 2013, for instance, 48 percent of women and 42 percent of men who claimed benefits were age 62. Signing up as soon as possible comes at a price, though: Monthly payments at age 62 will be up to 30 percent lower than what they would be if payments began at what’s known as “full retirement age,” which differs depending on the year in which you were born. Every year you delay payments before your full retirement age, the more money you get. For example, if you were born in 1960 or after, your full retirement age is 67, at which point you receive 100 percent of your benefit; if you take Social Security at 64, your payments are 20 percent lower than full value, and at age 66, they are 6.7 percent lower. Among retired workers, monthly benefits in December 2016 averaged $1,519 for men and $1,202 for women.