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Planning for retirement

Make Social Security part of your retirement plan

Social Security can help give you financial success in retirement if you understand your options and choose wisely.
5 minute read

Points to know

  • Social Security has features for retirees that other retirement savings plans don't have.
  • When creating your retirement plan, be sure to include your Social Security benefits as an income source.
  • It's important to have a retirement budget: Itemize your income sources and expected expenses.

Constructing your retirement plan

Planning today can make a big difference in your retirement lifestyle tomorrow.

Once you leave the workforce, the years that follow can be all that you want them to be—if you pave the way with a comprehensive financial plan that includes your Social Security income.

Your plan should be based on what you know today and flexible enough to adapt to any changes—like unforeseen personal circumstances or developments that come out of Washington.

Social Security can be a valuable tool to help bridge any gap you may have between your expected sources of income and your expenses.

See the exclusive benefits Social Security offers

Only 23% of workers say they considered how to maximize their benefits in deciding when to claim Social Security.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute's 2018 Retirement Confidence Survey.

If you already have a retirement plan that takes your Social Security benefits into account, that's great! You're one step closer to ensuring your assets last throughout your lifetime.

If you need help with retirement planning, we can get you started.

Learn the basics of planning for retirement

GET YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY ESTIMATES

The Social Security Administration (SSA) website provides estimates for how much you'll collect if you start receiving benefits at age 62, your full retirement age (FRA) (between 66 and 67), and age 70.

4 tips to help you put your plan together

For many individuals and couples, retirement can span 25 to 30 years, so it's natural to want to ensure your income will last.

That's why it's important to estimate your budget in retirement.

  • First, list your Social Security benefits as income along with any other sources you may have, such as an IRA, an annuity, an employer plan, or pensions.
  • Then, list all your expected expenses in retirement.
  • Finally, see where you stand with our retirement income calculator. You'll be able to compare what you may have with what you think you'll need.

Use our retirement income worksheet

Use our retirement expenses worksheet

Calculate how much money you'll need in retirement

You'll want to make sure your Social Security payments are as high as possible by using thoughtful claiming strategies.

  • Weigh the advantages of waiting as long as you can to collect.
  • Find out what options are available to married couples, if applicable.
  • See what other benefits you may qualify for.

When figuring out your best Social Security claiming strategy, your marital status is a good place to start. Select your status to learn more about your Social Security options.

I'm married

I've never been married

I'm divorced & I haven't remarried

I'm a surviving spouse

Too often, people think they only have 3 choices when it comes to taking Social Security:

  • Do I take the money as soon as I can when I'm 62 and permanently reduce my benefit by as much as 30%?
  • Do I wait until full retirement age (FRA)—66 to 67—depending on my birth date, and get 100% of my benefit?
  • Do I hold off until I'm 70—the latest possible claiming date—and increase my benefits by 8% each year after FRA?

Depending on your needs, you can start collecting Social Security anytime between ages 62 and 70. The key is to remain flexible so that you can respond to what's happening in your life.

Should you consider a break-even analysis?

See how it works: It pays to wait

Too often, people think they only have 3 choices when it comes to taking Social Security:

  • Do I take the money as soon as I can when I'm 62 and permanently reduce my benefit by as much as 30%?
  • Do I wait until full retirement age (FRA)—66 to 67—depending on my birth date, and get 100% of my benefit?
  • Do I hold off until I'm 70—the latest possible claiming date—and increase my benefits by 8% each year after FRA?

Depending on your needs, you can start collecting Social Security anytime between ages 62 and 70. The key is to remain flexible so that you can respond to what's happening in your life.

Should you consider a break-even analysis?

See how it works: It pays to wait

It's becoming more and more common for those who've reached retirement age to continue to work. Some need the money while others simply want to keep busy or enjoy the social interaction.

If you haven't saved as much as you'd hoped, working longer can help you fill the financial gaps in your retirement plan.

You can continue to contribute to employer plans and make catch-up contributions that will grow tax-deferred. You may even be able to postpone drawing from your savings.

And remember, if you delay taking Social Security, your benefits can continue to grow.

If you decide to work either full- or part-time, you should know how collecting a paycheck will affect your Social Security benefits.

Learn more about working & collecting Social Security

Percentage of Social Security benefits you'll receive by age

AGE YOU START COLLECTING PERCENTAGE OF BENEFITS

62 (earliest possible)

75.0%
63 80.0%
64 86.7%
65 93.3%
66 (full retirement age) 100.0%
67 108.0%
68 116.0%
69 124.0%
70 (latest possible) 132.0%

AGE YOU START COLLECTING PERCENTAGE OF BENEFITS

62 (earliest possible)

74.2%
63 79.2%
64 85.6%
65 92.2%
66 (full retirement age) 98.9%

66 and 2 months (full retirement age)

100.0%
67 106.7%
68 114.7%

69

122.7%
70 (latest possible) 130.7%

AGE YOU START COLLECTING PERCENTAGE OF BENEFITS

62 (earliest possible)

73.3%
63 78.3%
64 84.4%
65 91.1%
66 97.8%

66 and 4 months (full retirement age)

100.0%
67 105.3%
68 113.3%

69

121.3%
70 (latest possible) 129.3%

AGE YOU START COLLECTING PERCENTAGE OF BENEFITS

62 (earliest possible)

72.5%
63 77.5%
64 83.3%
65 90.0%
66 96.7%

66 and 6 months (full retirement age)

100.0%
67 104.0%
68 112.0%

69

120.0%
70 (latest possible) 128.0%

AGE YOU START COLLECTING PERCENTAGE OF BENEFITS

62 (earliest possible)

71.7%
63 76.7%
64 82.2%
65 88.9%
66 95.6%

66 and 8 months (full retirement age)

100.0%
67 102.7%
68 110.7%

69

118.7%
70 (latest possible) 126.7%

AGE YOU START COLLECTING PERCENTAGE OF BENEFITS

62 (earliest possible)

70.8%
63 75.8%
64 81.1%
65 87.8%
66 94.4%

66 and 10 months (full retirement age)

100.0%
67 101.3%
68 109.3%

69

117.3%
70 (latest possible) 125.3%

AGE YOU START COLLECTING PERCENTAGE OF BENEFITS

62 (earliest possible)

70%
63 75.0%
64 80.0%
65 86.7%
66 93.3%

67

100.0%
68 108.0%
69 116.0%
70 (latest possible) 124.0%

Why choose Vanguard for your retirement needs

Our clients share a commitment to a long-term, disciplined way of investing that's helped millions of people retire with confidence.

But the journey doesn't end once you're retired. We can help you make your hard-earned money last throughout your retirement years.

Learn the basics of managing your money in retirement

A Vanguard advisor can help

When to collect Social Security is an obvious retirement decision you have to make, but there are other questions you may not have thought of. Which accounts should you spend from first? Is a Roth conversion appropriate for any of your accounts?

While representatives from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are trained to help get you through the system, they can't create a financial plan or tell you how to maximize your benefits.

That's where Vanguard Personal Advisor Services® can help. You'll also get a custom financial plan, ongoing portfolio oversight, investment coaching, and real-time goal tracking—all at a low cost.

CONSOLIDATE YOUR RETIREMENT SAVINGS AT VANGUARD

Make your life easier and let us help you reach your goal.

Learn the basics of retirement planning

More help

Build your Social Security strategy

Read our Social Security brochure

Download Introduction to Social Security 

Partner with a Vanguard advisor or call 800-523-9447 to speak with an investment professional.

Partner with a Vanguard advisor or call 800-523-9447 to speak with an investment professional.

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