Your monthly Social Security benefit is calculated based on your average monthly wage (adjusted for inflation) over your 35 highest-paid years of earnings. But you’re not entitled to that benefit in full until you reach full retirement age, or FRA.

Now you are allowed to sign up for benefits as early as age 62, but doing so will reduce them on a permanent basis. Similarly, you can delay your filing past FRA and boost your benefits by 8% a year, up until age 70. But you won’t be well-equipped to make the right call if you don’t know what your FRA is in the first place, so be sure to figure that out early on.