For each year you postpone taking benefits past full retirement age up to 70, you get an 8% boost in delayed retirement credits.
Claiming at 70 is often the best move if you can afford to wait and expect to live until at least about age 80.
Postponing benefits may also help keep you in a lower income-tax bracket during the early years of your retirement.
While you’re in a lower bracket, it may make sense to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth, for example, paying a reduced tax rate now and enjoying tax-free withdrawals later.
For married couples, it’s wise for the higher-earning spouse to claim benefits at 70, if possible. That’s because when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse receives 100% of the highest benefit.
“This will increase the guaranteed stream of income that lasts not just for the higher earner’s lifetime, but also the spouse’s lifetime. It’s a way to create longevity insurance,” said Greg Will, a certified financial planner in Frederick, Md.
It may be worthwhile for the lower-earning spouse to claim his or her own benefits as early as 62 to gain some income in the meantime.
Spouses should keep some other things in mind, too. You can claim spousal benefits on your husband or wife’s record — even if you are not entitled to benefits from your own earnings — as long your spouse has started his or her benefits.