You'll Never Guess the Average Social Security Benefit at 62, 67, and 70

The average Social Security benefit goes up with age, but it’s still pretty low. You may be surprised at just how little it offers you to live on.

How much income does Social Security provide exactly?

The answer to this question is more complicated than you’d expect, because so many factors impact the benefits you receive. These include things like how long you worked, earnings over your career, and when you claimed Social Security.

Still, you need to have some idea of what retirement benefits can do for the typical senior — especially since you may be shocked when you find out the truth about how far the money goes.

Here’s what you need to know about the average benefits the typical retiree receives so you can be prepared.

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This is how much the typical retiree gets from Social Security at 62, 67, and 70

According to data from the 2023 Social Security Annual Statistical Supplement, here’s what the average senior collecting Social Security retirement benefits receives at 62, 67, and 70.

Age Average Monthly Benefit
62 $1,274.87
67 $1,844.83
70 $1,963.48

Data source: Social Security Administration

As you can see, these numbers are really low. They’re probably lower than you expected.

Now, it’s true that average benefits are higher at 70 than at 62. And there are good reasons for that.

  • Delaying a benefits claim until 70 entitles you to delayed retirement credits that could increase your payments by as much as 24% if your full retirement age (the age you’re entitled to your standard benefit) is 67.
  • Claiming at 62 permanently reduces your benefit by as much as 30% with an FRA of 67 thanks to early-filing penalties.
  • Higher earners are more likely to be in a position to wait until 70 to claim benefits. Since retirement checks are equal to a percentage of pre-retirement income, those who made more earn more.

Still, even the highest possible average benefit at 70 would only provide about $23,561.76 in annual income. For most people, that’s not enough.

Retirement can be expensive, both because of healthcare needs and because many seniors have dreams that cost money, such as traveling. An annual income of just $23,561.76 may not even be enough to cover the basics for most people, much less to enjoy life after decades of hard work.

Why is the average Social Security benefit so low?

So, why is the average Social Security benefit so shockingly low? It’s part of the program’s design. It was never meant to be the only income source for seniors, but instead was instead to work in conjunction with savings and a pension provided by an employer. Each of these three income sources was part of a “three-legged stool” that lawmakers envisioned would support seniors.

Pension funds are missing from most people’s support sources today, as the number of private sector workers with pensions has dramatically declined. This leaves only two support sources left: Social Security and personal savings.

While you can boost your Social Security benefit by delaying your claim, the data on average benefits shows that benefits still won’t be enough for the typical senior to live on even if you wait until 70 to start them. You need a plan for bringing in extra income — ideally, passively, through earning returns on investments and withdrawing money from your 401(k).

By looking at the average benefit now, you can hopefully avoid a serious and devastating financial shock in your later years if you don’t realize the truth about what Social Security can do for you. Start planning and saving so you’re prepared with the income you need for the retirement you deserve.

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