2. Claiming benefits at the wrong time
Retirees can choose to claim Social Security benefits any time between 62 and 70, with those who claim earlier getting more (but smaller) checks and those who claim later getting fewer (but larger) ones.
For around six in 10 retirees, claiming later makes the most sense because it provides more lifetime income. But for those who pass away before reaching their breakeven age — typically late 70s or early 80s — delaying a claim would mean less lifetime money from Social Security. Determining the best age to claim benefits is a tricky calculation because there’s no way of knowing your life expectancy. You can assess your likely longevity to guide your choice, or play the odds and assume you’ll be one of the majority of retirees who end up better off by waiting.
3. Living in the wrong place
There are 13 states that tax Social Security benefits, although that will soon be 12. If you live in one of them and are subject to the tax, you’ll lose some of your retirement money to your local government. If you’re struggling to get by, it may make sense to relocate to a state that won’t take a cut — especially if it’s a state with a lower cost of living as well.