CPP Pension: Should You Take Your CPP at Age 60, 65, or 70 (2023)?

Are you about to retire? One of the most important things you need to figure out is when to start receiving your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payments.

You will be able to start receiving the CPP payments between the ages of 60-70, which is a wide range that confuses a lot of Canadians.

If you’re stressing out about what age to take your CPP pension, read on for a detailed breakdown.

1. Comparison of CPP payout money you receive at 60, 65, and 70

Below is a year-by-year comparison of how much CPP you will receive at 60, 65, and 70. For simplicity’s sake, I assumed a $1,000/month CPP payout at age 65.

The amount you receive could be more, but more likely will be less. The average CPP payout is around $717.15/month, but the CPP max amount for 2023 is $1,306.57/month.

Highlights of the results:

  • If you live past age 74: You will earn more money if you start the CPP payout at age 65 than at age 60.
  • If you live past age 81: You will earn more money if you start the CPP payout at age 70 than at age 65.
  • If you start taking CPP at age 60: You will receive 0.6% less per month or 36% less if you start taking your CPP at age 60 vs. age 65.
  • If you start taking CPP at age 70: You will receive 0.7% more per month or 42% more than if you start taking your CPP at age 70 vs. age 65.

Assuming a $1,000 CPP payout at age 60:

Start CPP Age 60Start CPP Age 65Start CPP Age 70
CPP Received/month $           640 $        1,000 $      1,420
CPP Received/Year $        7,680 $      12,000 $    17,040

Total cumulative CPP you will receive by each age, depending on when you start payments:

Total CPP ReceivedStart CPP Age 60Start CPP Age 65Start CPP Age 70
Age 60 $        7,680  $             –    $           –  
Age 61 $      15,360  $             –    $           –  
Age 62 $      23,040  $             –    $           –  
Age 63 $      30,720  $             –    $           –  
Age 64 $      38,400  $             –    $           –  
Age 65 $      46,080  $      12,000  $           –  
Age 66 $      53,760  $      24,000  $           –  
Age 67 $      61,440  $      36,000  $           –  
Age 68 $      69,120  $      48,000  $           –  
Age 69 $      76,800  $      60,000  $           –  
Age 70 $      84,480  $      72,000  $    17,040
Age 71 $      92,160  $      84,000  $    34,080
Age 72 $      99,840  $      96,000  $    51,120
Age 73 $    107,520  $    108,000  $    68,160
Age 74 $    115,200  $    120,000  $    85,200
Age 75 $    122,880  $    132,000  $  102,240
Age 76 $    130,560  $    144,000  $  119,280
Age 77 $    138,240  $    156,000  $  136,320
Age 78 $    145,920  $    168,000  $  153,360
Age 79 $    153,600  $    180,000  $  170,400
Age 80 $    161,280  $    192,000  $  187,440
Age 81 $    168,960  $    204,000  $  204,480
Age 82 $    176,640  $    216,000  $  221,520
Age 83 $    184,320  $    228,000  $  238,560
Age 84 $    192,000  $    240,000  $  255,600

The results of these calculations were surprising to me but also very insightful:

Based purely on how much money you will receive:

  • Since the average life expectancy of Canadians is around 80-82, it might not be wise to start taking your CPP payments at 70 since you have to live past 81 to make more money.
  • Taking the CPP at age 60 also might not be wise for the average Canadian since if you live past the age of 74, you will make more money taking it at the typical age of 65.
  • Taking your CPP at age 65 does seem like the sweet spot for most Canadians, but it depends on your health and circumstances, which we’ll go over below.

Note that this analysis does not consider one very important advantage of starting your CPP payments early; if you are confident that you can use those early payments to invest and earn a decent rate of return, it might be advantageous to take your CPP earlier. This is a tough estimation to make and is beyond the scope of this article.

2. Can you afford to delay your CPP to 70?

CPP Pension Infograhic

This will take a little bit of work to figure out, but here are the general steps to take:

Step 1: Estimate your income without CPP for 60-85 years old

You will need to estimate your retirement income from all sources, except your CPP, for the ages of when you are 60-85.  You will need to determine how much your total investments and savings will be from all sources and how much you will draw from them each year.

Step 2: Estimate your expenses for 60-85 years old

You will need to estimate what your expenses will be for every year, between 60-80. You can use the rule of thumb of 70%-100% of your last year’s income, which will differ depending on your situation.

Step 3: Compare your income and expenses

If you retire and your income is less than your expenses or close to it without any CPP payments, you might need to start taking CPP early.

If you have lots of cushion between your income and expenses though, you have more flexibility to delay your payments.

Related Reading: How much do you need to retire in Canada?

3. Forecast your life expectancy

Guessing how long you will live is not a pleasant task, but it’s necessary to figure out when is a good time to start your CPP.

The best way is to look at your family history and examine your current health. Go for a medical checkup and consult your doctor, who can give you a full breakdown of how good your health is right now.

If you want to go by statistics, depending on when you were born, the average Canadian is expected to live to around 80-82.

If you’re in good health and think you will live well into your 80s and 90s, then delaying your CPP could be the right decision. However, if you’re in poor health, taking your CPP earlier might be the wiser choice.

4. OAS clawback

If you are close to the OAS clawback amount at age 65, consider delaying your CPP payments to a later age. Currently, the OAS clawback threshold for 2023 is $86,912, so if you’re close to this income consider this carefully when deciding when to start your CPP.

You could start getting clawed back on your OAS, which works out to a 15% tax if your income is too high. Delaying your CPP could help to reduce this OAS tax.

Read about strategies on how to reduce your OAS clawback here.

5. If you stopped working by age 60

If you are retired by the time you are 60, consider taking your CPP earlier. The years you aren’t working from 60-65 could decrease your retirement pension.

Each year of having zero contributions to your CPP might decrease your CPP payout. This is a tricky calculation that you will have to work out as you approach 60 to see what is more beneficial.

One advantage of taking your CPP at 60 is you can save or invest it to earn a return, which could work out to be a better option than receiving it at age 65 or 70. It depends on how your investment performs, though, so it does come down to a bit of luck.

Related Reading: CPP Payment Dates for 2023

Final Thoughts

Lots of people choose to start CPP payments at age 60 because nobody knows precisely when they will die.

However, if you’re an average Canadian in good health and don’t need the money immediately, taking your CPP at age 65 is a good compromise and a sweet spot for many. If you live past 74, you will earn more money in the long run.

It will take you until age 81 to earn more if you delay the CPP until age 70, which could be too long for most people. And maybe it’s better to have more money earlier in your retirement to spoil your grandchildren! 

Still not sure how CPP works? Check out my Youtube explainer video here:

Photo of author
Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

Check Out These Posts:

14 thoughts on “CPP Pension: Should You Take Your CPP at Age 60, 65, or 70 (2023)?”

  1. Hi Chris,

    I retired just before my 60th birthday and have been planning on taking my CPP no sooner than at 65. I’m not working anymore so therefore no longer contributing to CPP and I’ve read in this thread that there could be some sort of penalty as a result? Can you provide more information on how this works?

  2. if you take your CPP at 60 and have invested it in recent years you can easily have made between 6-8% p.a. Adding this amount to your annual CPP income stretches the ‘break-even’ date well past 74 even with returns being lower the past year or so. everything depends on circumstances…

    • Yes it definently does! I was showing a simplified example, but yes there is the possibility of earning returns from say high interest savings or investments that could change your course of action, which I highlight in the article.

  3. What was left out was the option to take CPP at 60 but keep working and invest the annual amount for the first 5 years, this gives an additional monthly income of $640 starting at age 65. This means that you would have over $268,000 accumulated income by age 8, which beats out both taking it at 65 or at 70. So it depends what you do with that money starting at an age 60 payout.

  4. I reached 70 last month and still employed. Actually I’m planning to keep working a few more years. I guess last month should be my last contribution to CPP .. is that right? then should I start collecting my CPP? what about OAS and what is the procedure for both?
    I tried to start by creating an account on service Canada but couldn’t (it keeps saying my information doesn’t match their records even I took the data from letters they’ve sent to me)
    Thank you

  5. Do not depend on CRA for your calculations. They were significantly off, in retrospect. I also tried (free) Holy Potato cal’ns with some Excel skills – which were also off from CRA estimates too. I finally decided to fork over $100 to DRPensions for total peace of mind, knowing precisely what my options were for the rest of my life (early CPP annually going forward, and cumulatively based on potential CPP elections available to me). After decades of contributions, I would have had to be in my 90s to really prefer waiting to 65!
    Elected at age 61 and comforted knowing that I made an informed decision. I get nothing from DR for making this comment.

  6. Hi Chris,

    I am considering retiring early, at age 60, but have heard conflicting information about how much I will get each month. I am just about to turn 57 now.

    I am a Canadian citizen, but I was living outside of the country for 16 years. On top of that since I was 18 I have only worked about 22 years in Canada up until now. Also most of those jobs were not full time, maybe 30 hours a week average, and most were minimum wage jobs.

    If I retire early at 60, what kind of monthly payout can I get in total, both cpp and oas? I heard there is a minimum you get, is this true?

    • Hi Jacob, for a situation that’s a bit more complicated like yours, I would highly recommend you call the CRA and they can walk you through everything. It’s a bit of a complicated calculation but they can help you with it. You can reach them at 1 (800) 959-8281

  7. This was great information. I am in my early 50’s and this answered my question about when to apply for CPP. Thanks for posting this.


Leave a Comment