Six Steps to a Larger Social Security Check

//Six Steps to a Larger Social Security Check

Six Steps to a Larger Social Security Check

For Mark Roberts’ Use: You probably know that most retirees can’t depend upon Social Security benefits alone, and should plan for at least one other form of retirement income. Having said that, Social Security is an important part of most retiree budgets. So, in the years leading up to retirement, it makes sense to do all that you can to maximize those benefits.

Before you retire, check your earnings report. Mistakes can and do happen. Since Social Security calculates your benefits according to your earnings record, it’s a smart idea to double check that their figures are correct. You can access your earnings report by visiting your local office, or by signing up for an account on Social Security’s website.

Avoid dragging down your averages. As we mentioned, your benefits will be calculated according to your earnings record. Social Security averages your 35 highest-earning years of work, and then continues their calculations from there. If you didn’t work at least 35 years, having zeros averaged into your equation can lower your final benefit.

Avoid an “early” retirement, if possible. Social Security determines your full retirement age, or the age at which you will claim your full scheduled benefits, according to your birthday. Currently that age ranges from 65 to 67 years old. However, you can claim benefits as early as age 62, if you’re willing to accept a check that is about 25 percent smaller. Sometimes an early retirement is necessary, but if you can wait, you will enjoy your full benefit checks.

Wait a bit longer. Just as claiming benefits early will net you a smaller check, delaying your claim can mean a larger one. For each year that you wait, beyond your full retirement age, you will earn a monthly check that is about 8 percent larger. But since there’s no benefit to waiting beyond age 70, definitely file for your benefits by this birthday.

Move to a retiree-friendly state. Some states tax Social Security benefits, so if your overall income puts you at risk, you might consider a move to a more retiree-friendly state.

Avoid taxes. Social Security benefits can be taxed, according to a formula which includes your taxable income each year. Working with a financial advisor can help you to identify whether you’re at risk for these taxes. Let’s discuss this at our next meeting, and we can help you identify retirement income strategies to mitigate this risk.

By |2019-01-09T21:47:47+00:00January 21st, 2019|Retirement|0 Comments

About the Author:

In addition to managing clients’ money and giving investment and diversification advice, Mark offers something that “the other guys” don’t - a unique approach to Retirement Tax Strategies and distribution. Time and time again, Mark meets with new clients who tell him they have a great relationship with their financial advisor but have never been offered information on this kind of approach to securing their financial futures. Mark has taken this feedback to heart and works tirelessly to ensure that his strategies focus on taxes and distribution. Mark started selling insurance for a major insurance company right out of high school to help put himself through college. After graduating with a degree in finance, he dove into estate planning on the financial side to set himself apart from other financial advisors. However, as changes were made to estate tax laws over time, Mark shifted his focus to income tax strategies. Mark’s philosophy is “the blue prints are more important than the wall paper or carpet.” The wall paper and carpet represent products like investments and insurance policies, whereas the blue prints represent the strategies. Once strategies that truly fit the client’s needs are put in place, our focus can shift to providing you with the right products. According to Mark, “It doesn’t matter what carpet we use if the walls are not in the right place.” Our approach to money management is designed to generate the largest alpha (quality) with the lowest standard deviation and beta (risk). By doing this, we help provide clients with the highest return on the lowest risk. Generating income for our retirees is also very important. Because withdrawing money from your portfolio hurts the account rather than helping it, our goal is to design income strategies to harm the portfolio the least making the money last longer.