Coordinating Social Security benefits can be tough, especially when you're entitled to both spousal benefits and payouts based on your own work history. In many cases, you have to be careful not to make mistakes.

In the following video from our Social Security Q&A series, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, answers a question from Fool reader Marsha, who asks whether she can claim spousal benefits early at age 62 and then claim her own full benefits at at age 66. Dan notes that in general, you can't take spousal benefits before full retirement age without having a negative impact on your own benefits as well, even if you don't want to take them until later. By contrast, if you wait until full retirement age to take spousal benefits, then you can keep waiting before you take your own benefits and thereby get the best of both worlds that way. Dan concludes that it's always smart to double-check the rules before making an important Social Security decision.

Have general questions about Social Security? Email them to, and they might be the subject of a future video!

Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.