NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Maxing out on your Social Security benefits is a pretty big deal, considering that the No. 1 fear among retirees is not having enough cash to live on all the way through retirement, according to a study by Prudential Financial (PRU - Get Report).
That study says Social Security accounts for about 40% of all retirement benefits, yet most retirees "never focus on how to help maximize the very benefits that may help sustain them throughout retirement."
For a number of reasons, "It's best to delay" getting benefits, says Dan White, founder of the Philadelphia-based financial advisory firm Daniel White & Associates.
Here's why, and how:"For every year you wait
A good Social Security calculator can help near-retirees figure out what will work best for them. Try the step-by-step online calculator from T. Rowe Price (TROW - Get Report) that not only covers "how and when" but adjusts for your personal financial situation. The Prudential study also advises near-retirees to factor in the impact of taxes before making decisions on Social Security withdrawals. Upon retirement, income from individual retirement account withdrawals can lead to Social Security benefits being taxed. The solution? Prudential advises reducing your taxes by choosing higher Social Security income and lower IRA withdrawals.