For your entire working life, FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) has been taking money out of your paycheck for Social Security, and our goal is to make sure you receive the maximum benefit. We create strategies for our clients to help them take advantage of the Social Security benefits throughout their life in retirement. Here are a couple quick tips to review:
1. Don’t claim Social Security until you have run a Social Security optimization report on your situation.
You’ve likely been paying into Social Security for your entire working life, and deserve to earn the maximum legal benefit that you’re entitled to. Navigating Social Security can be a daunting task as rules change and benefits vary depending on a multitude of factors. Have your financial advisor run a Social Security optimization report and provide you with a plan for when to file, how to file, and what to expect based on your individual circumstances.
2. If you were the higher-earning spouse, and your spouse is expected to outlive you, consider delaying your Social Security benefits for as long as possible.
While it may be tempting to take your social security benefit when you turn 62, waiting to claim your benefit will likely pay higher benefits in the long run. Not only could you add up to 8% every year that you delay collecting up to age 70, but your spouse will also be entitled to 100% of your Social Security benefit should you predecease him/her.
3. Understand the Social Security benefit formula as it relates to your individual situation.
Social Security pays you based on your highest 35 years of inflation-indexed earnings. If you have worked for less than 35 years, Social Security will mark the excess as zero in the average. It may be advantageous to work a few years longer if you are looking to increase your benefit as you could potentially replace any of your lower income years with higher earnings.