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How Much Cash You’re Missing Out on in Social Security – Men vs. Women at 62, 66, & 70

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Hey there, whether you're just curious or seriously digging into , checking out the typical retirement benefits at different ages can give you some solid info. It not only gives you a heads-up on your future Social Security cash flow but also points out the trends that help break down how they crunch the numbers for retired-worker benefits.

The average Social Security benefit for men and women at ages 62, 66, and 70

The Social Security Administration publishes anonymized beneficiary data throughout the year. The chart below pulls information from a recently updated biannual report. It shows the average Social Security benefit for retired men and women aged 62 to 70 as of December 2023. The chart also shows the average retired-worker benefit for both sexes combined.


Folks, pay close attention to three key age groups: 62, the earliest you can start claiming; 70, the latest and most sensible age to claim; and 66, smack dab in the middle. Now, within those brackets, let's zoom in on two crucial trends.

First up, the average payout for retired guys trumps that for retired gals at every age on the chart. That's all about variations in work history and lifetime earnings.


Next, when it comes to Social Security checks, they're at their smallest at 62, hit the jackpot at 70, and fall somewhere in between at 66. Blame it on the differences in claiming age.

Getting a grip on these patterns can steer folks towards smarter financial moves when dealing with Social Security.

Social Security Benefit
Social Security Benefit

How work history, lifetime income, and claiming age affect Social Security benefits

Alright, let's break down how your Social Security benefit pans out – it's a mix of your work history, lifetime earnings, and when you decide to claim it. We follow a two-step dance to figure it out:

  • Step 1: We toss the income from your 35 highest-earning years into the benefits formula to get your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). Now, the PIA is what you'd pocket if you claimed Social Security at the full retirement age (FRA), which is 67 for those born in 1960 or later.
  • Step 2: If you grab Social Security before hitting FRA, you're looking at a smaller check – less than 100% of your PIA. But hold on until after FRA, and you're in for a treat – a bigger benefit, more than 100% of your PIA.

Now, keep in mind two things: You can start claiming at 62 (the earliest), and it doesn't pay to wait beyond 70 – no extra credits after that.


Now, back to those two patterns we spotted earlier. First off, retired guys raking in more than the gals at every age? Blame it on the gender pay gap and women taking time off for kiddos. Less moolah over a shorter career leads to smaller Social Security checks.

Next up, the rollercoaster of benefits – smallest at 62, hitting the jackpot at 70, and coasting in between at 66. Why? Claim at 62, and you're hit with the biggest reduction. Hold out till 70, and you're stacking up those sweet delayed retirement credits. For example, if you're born in 1960 or later, grab Social Security at 62, and you get 70% of your PIA. But if you wait until 70? Boom, 124% of your PIA.

Here's the deal: Three moves to boost your future Social Security gig. First, clock in at least 35 years in the workforce – short stints mean zeros in the formula, equals a tinier PIA. Second, rake in the big bucks during your working days. And lastly, hold off on that Social Security claim until you hit the big 7-0.

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