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Financial analysts and commentators have established a cottage industry out of making retirees feel guilty about taking Social Security benefits early. But not only are these so-called experts lacking in empathy; they may also be wrong.

Consider this headline from a recent survey of retirees: "Many Regret Decision to Take Social Security Early."

Sounds ominous, right?

Well, the problem is that the title isn't entirely supported by the survey's actual results, which found that only 38% of respondents "say they wish they would have waited" longer before taking benefits. According to this, in other words, somewhere along the lines of 62% of respondents, or a large majority, evidently don't regret the decision.

And why should you? As Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield explains in the following video, the Social Security Administration has designed the benefit formula to pay the same amount of total benefits over the life of a typical person irrespective of when they elect to take them.

Additionally, as John goes on to discuss, taking benefits sooner rather than later can facilitate an earlier retirement, which allows retirees to escape the physical and psychological wear and tear associated with many jobs.

The net result, John concludes, is that "the only person who's qualified to determine when the best time for you to take benefits is you."

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