Thinking about when you should file for Social Security benefits? It’s an important decision, because it’s permanent. Once you start receiving benefits, you can’t change your mind. If you file early, you’re likely to see reduced benefit amounts. Similarly, if you delay your filing, your benefit amount will be increased.
You’re eligible to file as early as age 62. However, your benefit is permanently reduced if you file at any point before your full retirement age (FRA). Most people reach their FRA between their 66th and 67th birthdays.1
However, you can wait past your FRA to file for benefits. In fact, you can delay your filing as late as age 70. For each year you wait past your FRA, your benefit amount increases 8 percent. Conversely, your amount could be reduced as much as 25 percent if you file before your FRA.1
Do you own an IRA? If so, you have company. According to a 2013 study, Americans hold nearly $2.5 trillion worth of assets inside IRA accounts.1 Much of those assets are held in traditional IRAs.
Traditional IRAs, 401(k) plans and similar qualified accounts are popular savings tools because of their tax-favored treatment. You can fund these accounts with pretax dollars. Also, your growth is tax-deferred as long as the funds stay in the account. You can’t avoid taxes on these dollars forever, though.
You can defer distributions from your IRA or 401(k) up to age 70½. At that age, however, you must begin taking required minimum distributions, also known as RMDs. The amount of your RMD is based on several factors, primarily your age and your end-of-year account balance. Generally, your withdrawal will increase relative to your balance as you get older.