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Deciding when to take Social Security benefits is one of the most important financial decisions you'll ever make. Among other things, you should consider when you'll need the cash, how long you're likely to live, and at what age you want to leave the workforce to (at least hopefully) pursue a life of relative leisure.

So how should you make the final decision of when to apply? Suffice it to say there's a multitude of research and commentary available on the Internet to guide this process.

But as Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield discusses in the video below, the only person who's ultimately qualified to make the decision is you. With this in mind, John shares three simple charts that can assist you.

The first shows the impact of timing on the size of your monthly benefits. The second shows the cumulative surplus and later deficit associated with taking benefits at age 62 as opposed to 66. And the third shows the probability you'll live to various ages, assuming that you're 62 years old.

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