If you're approaching retirement, then you've no doubt considered when to start collecting Social Security benefits. The answer to this question, it turns out, isn't as easy as it may at first seem.

The complication stems from the fact that your monthly benefits are, in significant part, a function of when you choose to retire.

There are three ages to keep in mind. The first is your early retirement age. This is the age at which you become eligible to receive benefits. The second is your full retirement age, which is the age at which you're qualified to receive full benefits. And the last is your delayed retirement age, which applies a credit to your monthly payments in exchange for your choice to defer them.

So, when should you pull the trigger? As Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield discusses in the following video, the answer to this question boils down to some simple math.

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