Postpone Social Security as Long as Possible

Image of Social Security Card, social security, postponeMost retired adults rely on Social Security as their primary source of income.  There are many news stories about the fate of Social Security.  However, most people believe it will survive.   There is much confusion about Social Security.  The rules are constantly changing and are complicated.  Read on to learn more about Social Security benefits and you.

 

Maximize Your Social Security Benefits

The important fact to remember about Social Security is to maximize your income through good planning.  You do this by postponing benefits for as long as possible.  While you can take social security benefits as early as 62, you will receive less income.

Reduced benefits also happens if you stay employed under some circumstances.  For example, if you meet the minimal income amount from a job and choose to take social security benefits at the same time, $1 is subtracted from your benefits for every $2 you earn through employment.

Also, the age at which you receive full benefits continues to change.  While anyone can take benefits starting at age 62, the amount is drastically reduced.  If possible, you want to postpone benefits until you are eligible for maximum income.

Maximum income is at Full Retirement Age (FRA).  Currently FRA is 65 or 66 if born before 1954.  Anyone born between 1955 and 1959, your FRA is between 66 and 67.  Anyone born after 1960, the FRA is 67, however, the age will continue to change to offset the expense of longer lifespans.

History of Social Security

Social Security began in 1935.  Its purpose was to help older and disabled Americans with a steady income when they could no longer work.  In 1935, the lifespan of the average American was much shorter than today.  There were more workers to support Social Security.  The available were of no concern.

Through improved lifestyle choices and advanced medical technology, the currently lifespan of Americans far exceeds the expectations from 1935.  In short, more people are living longer and will need Social Security as their primary income in retirement.  Currently, Social Security will replace only 40% of the average wage.  Coupled with inflation, there is serious concern for Social Security in the near future.

Social Security Eligibility

To qualify for Social Security benefits a person must meet an age requirement and worked Image of social security application, glassesat least 40 quarters or 10 years.  The quarters do not need to be consecutive.  A person who never worked or does not meet the requirements may be eligible based on their spouse’s benefits.  This includes a divorced spouse, provided the marriage lasted at least 10 years.

Social Security is Complicated

The Social Security rules are complicated and constantly change.  Anyone receiving Social Security needs to consider more than just income.  For example, Medicare Part B premiums are automatically deducted every month.  In fact, according to HealthView, couples 64 and over could pay as much as 64% of their lifetime pre-tax benefits for healthcare.

Also, if you worked for an employer who did not withhold Social Security taxes, you may receive reduced benefits.  This is common for government employees.  And can also apply to your spouse.

Conclusion

Retirement is a time of leisure and enjoyment for the years of sacrifice when you worked.  You want to make sure your income will support your lifestyle in retirement.  If your retirement plan includes Social Security benefits, you want to maximize your income.  Because Social Security is complicated and ever changing, it is best to consult a financial professional or the Social Security Administration for questions and help with planning.  You can use this retirement calculator to start your plan

For more tips on real estate, aging-in-place, and not outliving your money, request a copy of our free book, The Northwest Indiana Guide for Seniors.