Social Security is arguably one of the most important cash flows for individuals in retirement. Many individuals have paid into the system for years, and in turn will be eligible for reduced benefits as early as age 62, or at their full retirement age (between ages 66 and 67). The decision on when to start collecting benefits is important and can impact your retirement cash flows for your remaining retirement. This decision should not be taken lightly, and it should not be left to informal conversations with friends, coworkers, etc. In other words, don’t base your decision to take benefits based on what your friends have done. Your situation is different. And in most cases, your decision is final. There are several strategies that may be employed when collecting benefits. Such strategies include taking benefits early at a reduced amount, delaying benefits for a higher amount, spousal retiree benefits, and even restricted application (rare, but still allowed). While it’s not bad to discuss Social Security with friends and relatives, the decision on when to collect should not be based solely on when they took theirs, or plan to take theirs. Some reasons include different working periods, salaries, family dynamics, longevity, and other sources of retirement income. To get a clear understanding of the benefits you may be eligible for, one of the first steps to take is talking with the Social Security Administration. Calling your local office, making an appointment, and discussing your options is wise, and the people at the SSA are equipped to help give you the best information about your options for benefits. Additionally, it may be wise to discuss your situations and goals with a financial professional with expertise in Social Security (expertise meaning they have in-depth knowledge of Social Security – not just a software package that tells them what to do). He or she will be able to provide insight, advice, and recommendations for your situation. They may ask questions you haven’t thought of in order to give you the best options for your filing strategy. Social Security benefits are an important part of many retiree’s plans. Don’t base the decision of such an important retirement cash flow on what friends have done. Make the decision based on the best information and advice relative to you. The post Friends With (Social Security) Benefits appeared first on Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row.