Don't take Social Security early unless forced to

The right age to start taking Social Security payments is 70. The longer you wait, the more money you'll receive.

Michael Smith at Houston's STA Wealth Management says there's nothing else that pays like waiting for Social Security.

"Every year after age 66, which is full retirement age for most, you get an eight percent increase in benefit payout."

But Smith says there are some who are only 62 who need to take Social Security now because the pandemic has wiped them out.

"If you're in that case and you have to take Social Security early the key is going to be downsizing your lifestyle to fit that payout."

If you're young enough to plan, Smith says don't count on a full Social Security payment when you retire.

"For people that still have many working years ahead, do not plan on receiving full benefits from Social Security, start planning ahead of time to have an alternative source."

If you take an early payout, your income will be reduced by up to 30% for the rest of your life.

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