Insights + Resources

Three Key Questions to Answer Before Taking Social Security

Jul 12, 2019

Question Marks
When to start? Should I continue to work? How can I maximize my benefit?

Social Security will be a critical component of your financial strategy in retirement, so before you begin taking it, you should consider three important questions. The answers may affect whether you make the most of this retirement income source.

When to Start?

The Social Security Administration gives citizens a choice on when they decide to start to receive their Social Security benefit. You can:

  • Start benefits at age 62.
  • Claim them at your full retirement age.
  • Delay payments until age 70.

If you claim early, you can expect to receive a monthly benefit that will be lower than what you would have earned at full retirement. If you wait until age 70, you can expect to receive an even higher monthly benefit than you would have received if you had begun taking payments at your full retirement age.

When researching what timing is best for you, It’s important to remember that many of the calculations the Social Security Administration uses are based on average life expectancy. If you live to the average life expectancy, you’ll eventually receive your full lifetime benefits. In actual practice, it’s not quite that straightforward. If you happen to live beyond the average life expectancy, and you delay taking benefits, you could end up receiving more money. The decision of when to begin taking benefits may hinge on whether you need the income now or if you can wait, and additionally, whether you think your lifespan will be shorter or longer than the average American.

Should I Continue to Work?

Besides providing you with income and personal satisfaction, spending a few more years in the workforce may help you to increase your retirement benefits. How? Social Security calculates your benefits using a formula based on your 35 highest-earning years. As your highest-earning years may come later in life, spending a few more years at the apex of your career might be a plus in the calculation. If you begin taking benefits prior to your full retirement age and continue to work, however, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 in earnings above the prevailing annual limit ($17,640 in 2018). If you work during the year in which you attain full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 in earnings over a different annual limit ($45,360 in 2018) until the month you reach full retirement age. After you attain your full retirement age, earned income no longer reduces benefit payments.

How Can I Maximize My Benefit?

The easiest way to maximize your monthly Social Security is to simply wait until you turn age 70 before claiming your benefits.

Tags: ,

More Insights

Jan 24, 2020

Where were you on March 9, 2009? Do you remember the headwinds hitting Wall Street stocks then? When the closing bell rang at the New York Stock Exchange that Monday afternoon, it marked the end of another down day for stocks. Just hours earlier, the Wall Street Journal had asked: “How Low Can Stocks Go?”1 … Continue reading “Stocks Gain Tremendously Since 2009”

Jan 17, 2020

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act is now law. With it, comes some of the biggest changes to retirement savings law in recent years. While the new rules don’t appear to amount to a massive upheaval, the SECURE Act will require a change in strategy for many Americans. For others, it … Continue reading “The Secure Act”

Jan 15, 2020

For most, creating an estate strategy is important to make sure your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. But it may be just as important to have an estate strategy for your business. Whether you’re a sole proprietor who will be passing on your business to your heirs or your business partners … Continue reading “Buy Sell Agreements for Businesses”

Jan 13, 2020

Financially, many of us associate April with taxes – but we should also associate April with important IRA deadlines. April 1, 2020 is the deadline to take your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from certain individual retirement accounts. April 15, 2020 is the deadline for making annual contributions to a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and certain … Continue reading “2019 IRA Deadlines Are Approaching”

Jan 10, 2020

  You may have seen this statistic before or one resembling it: the average 65-year-old retiring couple can now expect to pay more than $250,000 in healthcare costs during the rest of their lives. In fact, Fidelity Investments now projects this cost at $285,000. The effort to prepare for these potential expenses is changing the … Continue reading “Healthcare Costs are Cutting into Retirement Preparations”

Insights + Resources >