Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research may determine where and how companies appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Published: Dec 09, 2022 6 min read
Elderly Hands Holding Cash Infront Of Oversized Social Security Cards
Money; Getty Images

Most people can start collecting Social Security checks when they turn 62. But there are big financial rewards for those who wait: Americans who hold off until they’re 70 to claim Social Security benefits can expect to increase their lifetime payout by over $180,000, according to a new study.

While some people would only gain a few thousand dollars by delaying until age 70, those at the high end would gain about $900,000 over the course of their retirement by waiting, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research paper by authors at Boston University and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

The paper says the median loss in lifetime discretionary spending for those who don't wait until 70 is $182,370.

“Social Security is a critically important component of retirement-income security," the authors wrote. "Unfortunately, hundreds of millions of workers are making arguably highly inappropriate collection decisions — decisions that significantly reduce their lifetime Social Security benefits and, consequently, their lifetime spending.”