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Make Informed Decisions Regarding Social Security

If you’re like many Americans, you’ve worked and contributed to the Social Security system for most of your life. Now, it’s time to decide when to start collecting your Social Security retirement benefits.

It’s an important decision that will impact the income you receive throughout retirement. The decision about when to start can also affect the income and lifestyle of a surviving spouse. To help make an informed decision, you’ll want to consider a number of key factors described in this brochure.

It’s also important to seek the help of a financial professional. After all, Social Security will likely only serve as one source of your income in retirement. A financial professional can help you review your overall financial situation and develop a comprehensive strategy to help integrate your Social Security benefits with other sources of retirement income.

The Big Question: When to Begin Taking Social Security

The first step is determining your Full Retirement Age. 

Your Full Retirement Age (FRA) is the age when you qualify for 100% of your Social Security benefits (known as your Primary Insurance Amount). Your FRA is based on your year of birth as shown below.
When you’re ready to start collecting benefits, you should apply for Social Security no more than four months before the date you want your benefits to start. 

Social security full retirement age (fra) chart by birth year


If you start collecting Social Security benefits and then change your mind about your choice of the start date, you may be able to withdraw your claim and re-apply at a future date, provided you do so within 12 months of your original application for benefits. All benefits (including spousal and dependent benefits) must be repaid and you may only withdraw your application for benefits once in your lifetime.

Filing for Your Social Security Benefits

Your Three Main Options:

You generally have three main options when it comes to choosing when to start collecting your benefit. This is often referred to as your Social Security “filing strategy.” As you can see below, each has advantages and disadvantages.

Social security chart highlighting 3 social security claiming strategies

Recent Social Security Articles

Can You File and Suspend Social Security Benefits?

Social Security Benefits for Divorced Spouse

Social Security Spousal Benefits

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Annuities are distributed by My Annuity Store, Inc. Guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of the insurer. My Annuity Store, Inc. does not advise clients on the purchase of non-fixed annuity products. The information presented here is not of tax or legal nature and is not intended to be a recommendation to purchase a fixed annuity, fixed index annuity, variable annuity contract, registered index linked annuity (RILA), immediate annuity (SPIA), longevity annuity, or Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC). 

The contract features described may not be current and may not apply in the state in which you reside. Annuities are issued by Insurance companies and contracts are ‘state-specific’. Insurance companies also change their products and information often and without notice. Annuities are subject to the terms and conditions of the specific contract issued by the insurer, are not FDIC or NCUA insured, are not issued by a bank, may lose value, and are not a deposit. Please call (855) 583-1104 if you have any questions or concerns. 

The information presented here is not a representation regarding the suitability of any concept or product(s) for an individual and it does not provide tax, accounting or legal advice. It is important to read the prospectus carefully and consider your objectives, risks, fees and charges associated with the contract. You should always consult your own financial planning, tax, and legal counsel prior to purchasing an annuity. A fixed annuity, immediate annuity, longevity annuity, or Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract and variable annuities are issued by insurance companies.

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