To receive full benefits, those born from 1943 to 1954 can take retirement at age is 66. The full-benefit retirement age rises to 67 for those born in 1960 and later. But you can start taking Social Security as early as 62 -- but receive less per month -- or wait until age 70 to start getting payouts.
According to Drew Horter, president and chief investment strategist at Cincinnati, Ohio-based Horter Investment Management, as much as 90 percent of people don't maximize their Social Security benefits.
"There are a lot of factors that go into when you're going to make that claiming decision," says Don Riley, chief investment officer for the Wiley Group, based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
Do you really need the cash? How do you know when to file for your benefits? Factors include how long you think you're going to live and whether you need the income now, or later.