Social Security monthly payments will further increase if you delay your start date past full retirement age, up until age 70. "I think people tend to associate when they begin taking Social Security with when they retire, and I think it's really important to decouple those two events," says Tim Kober, a certified financial planner for Cedar Financial Advisors in Beaverton, Ore. "For most families and households, delaying Social Security is the single smartest and most financially savvy decision that you can make because for every year that you delay taking Social Security, your benefit increases 8 percent."
However, while the age workers expect to retire is growing, few retirees have been able to delay retirement past age 65. Just 17 percent of the retirees in the Gallup survey left the workforce after age 65. Currently, the average retirement age is 61, up from 57 in 1991. The most popular ages to retire are between 60 and 64 (36 percent). And 31 percent of seniors entered retirement before age 60.