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Most self-described experts on retirement will encourage you to wait as long as possible before taking Social Security benefits. But even though this advice may be grounded in logic, it might nevertheless be wrong.

The rationale for waiting is simple. Namely, the size of your monthly benefits is inversely related to the age at which you begin receiving them. If you apply at age 62, they'll be 25% less than your primary insurance amount (i.e., the amount you're entitled to your full retirement age, or 66). Meanwhile, if you wait until turning 70, then they'll be 32% larger than even the latter benchmark.

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While this makes perfect sense, however, it excludes an important point. That is, it ignores the fact that the Social Security Administration has structured the benefit formula to yield the same amount in lifetime benefits regardless of when you begin receiving them. If you take them early, your checks will be smaller but greater in number. If you wait, you'll receive fewer of them, but each will be bigger.

In the video below, Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield expands on this by offering one more reason that taking benefits early may not be such a bad idea.

 

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