If you're approaching retirement, you're probably already itching to claim your Social Security benefits.
Age 62 is when qualified individuals first become eligible to file. But claiming benefits early will reduce your monthly paychecks and overall lifetime earnings.
If you wait until full retirement age — usually either 66 or 67, depending on when you were born — you get 100 percent of the benefit available to you based on your personal work record.
And if you delay until age 70, your retirement benefits will be even greater. That is because delaying past full retirement age lets your benefits grow by about 8 percent per year until you reach that age. Waiting until 70 could bring your benefit amount to 132 percent.
Because of this, financial advisors generally recommend that you hold off on claiming as long as you can. Admittedly, that can be a gamble.
"You're always betting you'll live longer and get more money," said Geri Eisenman Pell, CEO of Pell Wealth Partners at Ameriprise Financial in Rye Brook, New York. "The government is asking us to make a calculated risk decision on something we've been mandated to pay into and take a risk on the back end."