Most of us don't think much about Social Security early in our working lives, apart from noting the weekly toll on our paychecks. But as retirement nears, it's important to know when—and how best—to finally claim benefits from that program we've been paying into all those years.
According to wealth advisor Tim Maurer, director of personal finance at Buckingham and The BAM Alliance, the most important thing to know is that you should wait as long as you possibly can in order to claim Social Security. Although you can draw benefits as early as age 62, he says, "for every year you wait ... it's like the equivalent of making a guaranteed rate of return on your investment of about 8 percent." Putting off a claim until you're 70 or older makes sense. "Each year you wait is putting more money in your pocket for the future, when you may need it most."