How to Retire from a Large Corporation #6: Social Security Break Even

David Larson |

Are you like many people we know in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County who are excited about their retirement years, but are overwhelmed by the complexity and all of the numbers in front of you? When should you draw Social Security? How much will healthcare cost? How much will you actually spend in retirement? 

All these numbers are important and you should absolutely get a handle on them as you get closer to the date; but do not get overwhelmed with the complexity of the task. The goal is to stay focused on the big picture and break down your decisions into simple action items.

This blog is the 6th in a series, “How to Retire from a Large Corporation” and is designed to accompany an e-book by the same name.

Many people do not understand some of the most important details about Social Security and how these benefits work. As a result, they make a bad decision with the timing and method of drawing these benefits, and in the process miss out on thousands of dollars over their lifetime.

If you read the last blog, then you understand how the key elements of Social Security work. Now that you know this, you should determine your “break-even date” and understand how your choice affects your survivors. 

For instance, you may say, “If I live until _____, then I am better off waiting until age ____ to draw my benefits.” 

Don’t make the mistake that countless other Americans have made and draw your benefit at age 62 without running the numbers, buying into the “I may as well get it while I can” logic. While this statement makes for a good soundbyte, it is not logical for the vast majority of people when you explore how Social Security actually works.

Many people plan to take Social Security at Full Retirement Age (FRA), which is between age 66 and 67 for most retirees today. People who run the numbers determine that they will likely receive more total money from Social Security by waiting until later, as long as they live past age 82 or 83. Furthermore, waiting until 70 ensures the highest amount of income to life expectancy, protects the survivor, and opens up tax-planning opportunities from the time you retire until the time you draw your benefits.  

Waiting may not be an option for you if you do not have a lot stashed away in retirement accounts or in the bank, but for people who have been able to save a lot, we often advise that you wait until age 70 before drawing the benefits of the higher-earning spouse. 


There is so much more to learn about Social Security! Here’s a link to the Social Security website that describes how spousal benefits work, and here’s a link that describes how survivor benefits work.


Check back next time as we dive deep into pension options. If you are fortunate enough to have a pension, then make the most of it!. To download the full “How to Retire from a Large Corporation” eBook you can find it here.




This is the 6th of many blogs we are writing to help you finish strong in life. Much of the content is pulled from an eBook we wrote entitled “How to Retire from a Large Corporation.” Click here to download the document. If you would like to discuss any of these topics in more detail, you can schedule a time to talk through this link.