Social Security

Maximizing Social Security Benefits

Secure Strategies for a Safe Retirement

Social Security benefits play a crucial role in ensuring a stable and secure retirement. For many retirees, understanding how to maximize these benefits is essential for financial well-being. This comprehensive guide will explore various strategies to help you get the most out of your Social Security benefits, ensuring a safe and secure retirement. We’ll cover the basics of Social Security, when to claim your benefits, secure strategies to maximize them, common pitfalls to avoid, and how to integrate Social Security with other income sources.

Understanding Social Security

Social Security benefits are designed to provide financial support during retirement. The amount you receive depends on your earnings history and the age at which you claim your benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates your benefit based on your highest 35 years of earnings. Understanding how your benefits are calculated is the first step in maximizing them.

When to Claim Social Security

One of the most critical decisions you’ll make is when to start claiming your Social Security benefits. You can begin claiming as early as age 62, but doing so will permanently reduce your monthly benefit. Conversely, delaying your claim past your full retirement age (FRA) increases your benefit by 8% per year until age 70.

Full Retirement Age vs. Early vs. Delayed Benefits

  • Full Retirement Age (FRA): Your FRA is based on your birth year. For those born between 1943 and 1954, it’s 66. For those born in 1960 or later, it’s 67.
  • Early Benefits: Claiming at age 62 reduces your monthly benefit by about 25-30%.
  • Delayed Benefits: Each year you delay past your FRA increases your benefit by 8%, up to age 70.

Secure Strategies to Maximize Benefits

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Social Security Benefits COLA 2024: What to Know

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The word is out about the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2024! The Social Security Administration has officially said what next year’s COLA will be.

In 2024, Social Security beneficiaries will get a 3.2% raise in their benefits. While it’s not as big as the 2023 COLA of 8.7%, it’s still quite a lot. This is good news for retirees and others receiving Social Security payments for a few reasons.

One, because it means their payments will be higher to keep up with the rising costs. Secondly, inflation is going up but not quite as high as it was in the past two years. That means that retirement dollars won’t have their purchasing power eroded as much (although inflation is increasing and it will go down a bit). Still, the prices of everyday goods and services are high as-is, especially for retirees on a fixed-income budget.

Let’s go through what the 2024 COLA for Social Security means, how they calculate this raise, and what you can do to make your money last longer. With statistics showing people spending as much as one-third of their lives in retirement, knowing how your Social Security benefits and other income sources work together can help you stretch your retirement dollars.

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567 Ways to Claim Social Security

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Have you heard that there are over 560 ways to claim Social Security? Some experts peg it at 567 ways to take Social Security, to be specific. With so many options, how can you be sure that you have chosen the right Social Security claiming strategy for your situation?

To be clear, those are just numbers. Paul Simon knew 50 ways to leave your lover. Most sources cite somewhere between 567 ways, nine ways (for a single person), and 81 ways (for a couple).

However many ways there really are, and even the Social Security Administration doesn’t seem to offer a straightforward answer, the important thing is that you claim in the most productive way for you and your spouse if you are married.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you explore different options for when and how you will collect Social Security. These factors can help you make the most of your benefits, whether claiming early or delaying past your age of full benefit eligibility to let your benefit grow more.

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Social Security Benefits COLA 2023: What You Should Know

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The news for the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2023 is out. There will be a significant COLA for recipients in 2023, and it will be the largest boost in four decades. This is good news for retirees and others receiving Social Security benefits, as it means that their benefits will increase next year to keep up with the rising cost of living.

The COLA for 2023 will be a historic 8.7%, according to the Social Security Administration. This will be the largest COLA since the 11.2% boost in benefits that took place in 1982. To put things in perspective, last year Social Security had a 5.9% increase in benefit payments.

Keep reading to learn more about how the COLA is calculated and what it means for you, especially in this period of inflation.

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Effective Social Security Claiming Strategies

Are you trying to decide when to start drawing on your Social Security benefits? Knowing what your options are before you make an irreversible decision can really pay off.

It may be surprising to see the number of ways that you can increase your benefits, regardless of whether you take them early, on time, or late. There are several strategies that can provide you with a higher benefit, both now and later, if you play your cards right.

Read on to find out how you can get the most out of your benefits once you are ready to do something with them.

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Social Security Will Get a Boost of 5.9% for 2022

What sort of increase in Social Security benefits will benefits recipients see for 2022? The official word is out, and there will be a record-breaking 5.9% cost of living adjustment (COLA) to benefits for next year, according to the Social Security Administration.

In 2021, Social Security had a 1.3% COLA to benefits, which was slightly smaller than the 1.6% increase of 2020.

But in 2022, Social Security recipients will get a boost in benefit payments that is over four times the average COLA from these past two years. This coming COLA of 5.9% is also the largest increase in almost 40 years.

This has been done in an effort to keep up with the runaway inflation that has gripped America. The consumer price index shows that the price of retail goods has risen by an astounding 5.4% in 2021, at the time of this writing.

The pandemic has also disrupted much of the United States’ economic infrastructure and caused job losses. Retirees who depended on part-time work and other income sources were hit, so the COLA adjustment will help offset the decline in their incomes.

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Social Security Will Get a COLA Boost of 1.3% for 2021

Social Security Will Get a COLA Boost of 1.3% for 2021

Starting on January 1, 2021, Social Security beneficiaries will see a boost in their benefits. Over 70 million recipients of Social Security and Supplemental Security income will receive a COLA bump of 1.3% in their monthly payouts.

This increase is lower than the increase of 1.6% for 2020 by 0.3%. It’s also 0.1% lower than the average COLA of 1.4% that recipients have received over the last decade.

The average Social Security recipient will see a monthly bump-up of about $20 overall. In other words, that will be an increase from an average benefit of $1,523 in 2020 to $1,543 in 2021. Read More

Social Security is Dipping Into Its Reserves Faster Due to Coronavirus

Social Security is Dipping Into Its Reserves Faster Due to Coronavirus

For the past few decades, people have been living longer than what Social Security was designed to pay out for. Millions of new retirees are joining the ranks of Social Security benefits recipients, now and in the coming decades.

In time, the outflowing payments to Social Security beneficiaries will start exceeding what Social Security has in reserves. The Social Security Administration will then have a decision to make.

It will have to rely more on the inflows from payroll taxes (and possibly other funding measures) in order to keep up its promised benefits payments to future generations of retirees.

Before the pandemic crisis, Social Security was looking at its reserves being depleted by roughly 2035. But now, over 20 million people have lost their jobs as a result of the spread of the coronavirus.

That is 10% of the U.S. workforce. Payroll taxes that would be pouring into the U.S. Treasury from everyone’s paychecks have lessened considerably. As a result, Social Security has been dipping further into its reserve funds in order to keep up its promises to retirees and other benefits recipients. Read More

How Full Retirement Age Affects Social Security

How Full Retirement Age Affects Social Security

As you gear up for crucial retirement decisions such as Social Security, you may have heard of “full retirement age.” The Social Security Administration refers to full retirement age as “normal” retirement age. This is the age at which you will receive 100% of your monthly retirement benefit.

But full retirement age isn’t the same for everyone. For those born before 1943, this is age 65. For those born after that year, full retirement age can range from 66 to 67 years old.

This matters for eligible recipients because choosing when they begin receiving benefits is one of the most important retirement decisions that they might make. Making the right choice can make a difference of tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, in the lifetime benefits they are paid.

You can start taking Social Security benefits once you turn 62, but your benefit will be permanently reduced by 30% or more. You will have to wait until you reach your full retirement age to get your full benefit.

And if you delay collecting benefits until after your full retirement age? Then you can increase the amount you receive by about 8% per year until age 70. Waiting to take your benefits at 70 will increase your monthly benefit about one-third more than your regular full benefit. Read More

It’s Official: Social Security Benefits Are Getting a 1.6% Boost in 2020

It Looks Like Social Security Benefits Will Get a Boost in 2020

On October 10, the Social Security Administration officially released the amount of their cost-of-living adjustment for 2020. Almost 70 million Americans will see their Social Security benefits rise by 1.6% next year.

While this raise is less than the 2.8% cost-of-living-adjustment for 2019, it’s still higher than the 1.4% average COLA that participants have received over the past decade. The Senior Citizens League was also spot on with its projection for Social Security next year. Read More

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