Planning is key to most things in life, including Social Security benefits. As automatic as the benefit is for most U.S. citizens, there are multiple factors to consider before enrolling.

Many retirees are unsure of when to start collecting the benefit and how much they may gain or lose by delaying their start date. Vanguard provides a detailed breakdown of total payments an individual will collect starting at age 62 up to full retirement age (FRA). Total benefit collection can differ by nearly $100,000!

Unfortunately, many Americans don’t fully comprehend or take the time to understand the various strategies surrounding their benefit. They also haven’t calculated how much retirement is going to cost. As explained here, there is a large discrepancy between what retirees plan to collect and what current retirees are collecting in Social Security. This expectation difference can make retirement difficult to navigate.

Manipulating different scenarios, including the expected age of death, can help ensure your retirement is financially covered. Don’t let your golden years be riddled with stress and debt accumulation.