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One of the most important things you will do as you plan for your retirement is to decide when to claim Social Security benefits. But, what do you know about how Social Security works?
Register to watch our Social Security video series.
You will learn how to:
Understand recent Social Security legislation
Identify the interactions between different income types
Optimize your Social Security claiming strategy
Simply email us with some days and times that work for you!
Every year you work, your earnings are recorded in the Social Security system. If you have gaps in employment due to illness, unemployment, caregiving duties or working but not paying into Social Security, your benefit amount will be lower than it would be otherwise.
The amount of your monthly benefit is based on your lifetime earnings. The 35 highest documented earning years are taken into consideration. There is a direct correlation between higher earnings and higher monthly benefits; therefore, boosting your earnings with secondary employment may be of benefit.
If you opt into your monthly benefits at an earlier age than your full retirement age, your benefit amount will be reduced, and you will receive lower monthly payments over your lifetime. If you can take your benefits after full retirement age, you will receive larger monthly payments. In fact, taking your benefit at age 70 rather than 62 guarantees a 76% return in your benefit amount, something that most investments cannot match.
Will you take benefits early but continue to work? If so, your benefits may be reduced. Conversely, if you work until full retirement age and continue to work, then you can also receive your full benefit.
The Social Security Administration reports that approximately 40% of people who take monthly benefits have to pay income taxes on them. Depending on your income and tax bracket, up to 85% of your benefit is taxable.
Poor health for you or a family member may mean that you have to take Social Security benefits earlier than you planned. Alternatively, your family history and good health can mean that your retirement will last longer than you planned.
Whether you are divorced or married will impact when you take your benefits. In some cases, you may even be eligible to take some or all of your spouse's benefits and postpone your own.
We've compiled some articles, videos, and calculators designed to educate you on your retirement options, as well as help you make a sound plan to best utilize your Social Security benefits.
When you’re planning for retirement, knowing how to maximize your Social Security benefits needs to be a key part of your long-term strategy.
Access your Social Security account and your statements here.
See an overview of the 2021 changes to Social Security.
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