Financial Planning Briefs


Social Security


When Should I Begin Taking My Benefits?

Making a Social Security Retirement Benefit election is a decision nearly all Americans will make during their lifetimes, and one that may significantly influence one’s retirement income. Often, however, information can be confusing, which can lead to making compromised election decisions.  When to begin taking distributions may seem straightforward.  In reality though, it is not.



What Factors Should I Consider?

Here are some important considerations:

  • Asset sufficiency and income needs assessment;
  • Your anticipated retirement age;
  • Your personal health and family longevity history;
  • Marital status and your spouse’s social security situation

Notable age milestones:

  • 62 is the earliest one can elect to begin receiving benefits
  • 65-67 represents Full Retirement Age (FRA) for Social Security benefits
  • 70 is the latest one might wish to defer benefits, as there is no value in waiting longer


As the below chart reveals, as net worth increases Social Security distributions tend to be deferred.  Although individuals receive an 8% benefit increase each year they forgo benefits beyond their Full Retirement Age (FRA), postponing requires current income sufficiency as well as living long enough to make up for the deferred income.


Our Recommendations
  • Think about your personal situation. We are happy to help you assess your income needs, age considerations and options before you make an election.
  • Visit to set up an online account. Take the time to confirm your earnings history is accurate.
  • Do not claim benefits before you attain your FRA unless you are certain this is the right choice for you.
  • When you are ready to make an informed decision, make an appointment at your local Social Security Administration office. Making elections in person tends to reduce the likelihood of avoidable mistakes.


How can we help you?  Please contact:
Jim O’Neil, Managing Director, 617-338-0700 x775
[email protected]


This commentary reflects the opinions of Appleton Partners based on information that we believe to be reliable. It is intended for informational purposes only, and not to suggest any specific performance or results, nor should it be considered investment, financial, tax or other professional advice. It is not an offer or solicitation. Views regarding the economy, securities markets or other specialized areas, like all predictors of future events, cannot be guaranteed to be accurate and may result in economic loss to the investor. While the Adviser believes the outside data sources cited to be credible, it has not independently verified the correctness of any of their inputs or calculations and, therefore, does not warranty the accuracy of any third-party sources or information.  Specific securities identified and described may or may not be held in portfolios managed by the Adviser and do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold, or recommended for advisory clients. The reader should not assume that investments in the securities identified and discussed are, were or will be profitable. Any securities identified were selected for illustrative purposes only, as a vehicle for demonstrating investment analysis and decision making. Investment process, strategies, philosophies, allocations, performance composition, target characteristics and other parameters are current as of the date indicated and are subject to change without prior notice. Registration with the SEC should not be construed as an endorsement or an indicator of investment skill acumen or experience. Investments in securities are not insured, protected or guaranteed and may result in loss of income and/or principal.
"Are you or a family member the operator or manager of a Limited Liability Corporation (“LLC”), or a general partner of a Limited Partnership (“LP”)? Have you ever created an LLC to hold real estate or other investment assets? If so, new, more stringent reporting requirements brought on by the Corporate Transparency Act warrant attention..."
"As we begin a new year, a few changes to 2023 retirement account contribution limits are noteworthy. An overview of these changes follows, although consultation with your Portfolio Manager or a tax professional is recommended before considering what options are right for you."
"Appleton has always believed that achieving a client’s unique investment objectives demands active collaboration and a willingness to customize portfolios."