There are a number of variables that can affect your Social Security benefits. Retirees and those who will be retiring in the next few years can find can use Social Security tools (click on “Computer Programs” and “Social Security Solutions”).
Most Social Security planning focuses on a married couple’s ability to “file and suspend” (while other spouse files for spousal benefits). Widows and widowers can also play one benefit against another: start the survivor’s benefit when you reach age 60 and then flip to your own retirement benefit at age 62 or older.
If you expect a significant portion of your retirement income to come from tax-deferred savings, you may be better off depleting most or all of those assets first, thereby having the financial wherewithal to delay all or most of your Social Security retirement benefits.