Here is the conclusion of Robert Berger’s comprehensive article on from US News and World Report about when to begin claiming Social Security benefits.

Social Security“Deciding to keep working. If you want to take Social Security benefits while still working part time or full time, you can. But if you are below full retirement age you will get reduced benefits if you make over a certain amount – around $15,120 for 2013. For every $2 you make over that amount, your Social Security benefit will be reduced by $1. The year you reach full retirement age, your benefit will be reduced by $1 for every $3 you make over $40,080. Once you actually turn full retirement age, your benefits will no longer be docked at all. One more thing to keep in mind is that if your benefits are withheld because of your earnings, your payments will be increased once you reach full retirement age.

“Some individuals choose to take Social Security payments while they’re still working, so that they can invest the extra money to hopefully get a better return. This can work out in your favor, if the market and your investing strategy give you an excellent return. But this is a risky proposal, and most investment professionals don’t advise it unless you can really afford to lose the money.

“The bottom line. When it comes to deciding when to take Social Security benefits, the bottom line is that it’s a highly personal decision. It depends on whether you’re single or married, how long you might live, whether you want to continue working,  and how much you’ve already saved for retirement.

“The key is to understand all your choices, and how those various choices will affect your overall income potential during retirement. It’s often helpful to find a financial adviser you trust, and work with that adviser to decide when you should take Social Security benefits based on all of these different factors.

Please contact Pensions Parameters for more information on this topic.