Three pointers to make sure you don’t get less social security income than you’re entitled to in retirement.
A mantra among social security recipients often heard is ‘you get what you get’ and to some extent, this is true. However, we’ve got three tips for those getting close to either age 62, when you can first claim social security, or full retirement age (FRA). Make sure that before you claim your retirement benefits, you’ve checked the following three items so you know you’re getting the biggest benefit you can.
1. 35 Years of Work
Make sure you’ve got 35 years of work under your belt. Social Security benefits are calculated using the 35 years in which you earned the most through the labor force. If you worked 34 years, that means for one of the years used to calculate your social security, it will be a 0. Hypothetically, let’s say you want to claim the benefits at age 62 but then you realize you only have 34 years in the workforce, contributing to social security. By holding off and working one more year, at age 63 you’ve got 35 years now so one of the zeros factored into your benefit calculation becomes your annual salary. This would boost your social security income significantly.
2. Don’t Claim Benefits Too Early
Before claiming social security, it’s sound advice to meet with a financial planner first to make sure you’re making a smart decision. The more you are going to rely on social security benefits for income, the more important it is to hold off on claiming them for as long as you can. Taking benefits before your FRA results in a permanent reduction to those benefits, therefore closely examining the cost is a must. Also, if you wait until 70 to claim benefits, there’s an even bigger benefit waiting for you than at FRA, but after 70, there’s no reason not to claim what you have earned over your career.
3. Doublecheck Your Social Security Account
If you haven’t claimed social security yet, and you haven’t created an account on SSA.gov, you should really stop reading this article and do that now. Checking to make sure your earnings statement is accurate can be crucial to getting what you’re entitled to from the Social Security Administration. Taking a few minutes per year to ensure your earnings have been accurately recorded can save you from a large headache down the road. Because once you claim your benefits, any errors you catch later can’t be remedied. You’ve got to correct them before you apply. So check your yearly earnings statement now!
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Until Next Time,
**Written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner, ChFEBC℠. The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.