Q. I am about 10 years from retiring from the federal government and would like more information on Medicare and Social Security. I was thinking about not taking my Social Security until I am 67 years old. My friend said she is applying for hers as soon as she is eligible (62). How do I determine which age is best for me? Are there comparison charts that will show me approximately what my overall benefit would be if I applied for social security at 62 versus 67?
A. The decision about when to claim your Social Security benefits requires some complex and comprehensive analysis. There is not rule-of-thumb or simple calculation (like breakeven analysis) that will do the job properly. You can learn about the options available to you at www.ssa.gov. To make the decision about when to claim, you can do what the vast majority do: guess and hope. Or, you can engage an analyst (notice that I did not say insurance salesman, securities broker or banker) to help you. Maybe a CPA or fiduciary CFP.