Social Security is a great program, but knowing when and how to claim your benefits can determine how much you collect.
Here are seven potential problems you need to consider so you can maximize your Social Security income.
1: Remarrying Before Age 60
If your spouse dies, you will be entitled, in most situations, to collect survivor Social Security benefits unless you remarry before the age of 60. All social security benefits from your previous marriage will not be paid out.
Its up to you to decide if this financial loss is worth it. Some people simply forgo legal marriage until after age 60.
2: Claiming Your Benefits Too Early
Claiming spousal benefits before the designated retirement age of 65-67 can reduce the amount of Social Security money you collect â€“ indefinitely. This can vary based on many factors so its important to talk to a financial professional.
3: Earning Additional Income
If you take another job or start an income-producing business while simultaneously collecting Social Security benefits you may be taxed on those benefits.
It depends on how much you make from extra-income. Know the tax consequences before taking on another source of income.
You can find out rates and details by contacting the Social Security Administration, IRS or working with a qualified financial counselor.
4: Applying at the Wrong Time
You need to pinpoint when you apply for Social Security and when you do really depend on your circumstances.
In 2014, the SSA began sending workers statements to help them plan retirement. Read these statements carefully. Go over them with your financial counselor or an advisor at the Social Administration local office. Here is a link to help you find the closest local office near you: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp
A side note: You can get Medicare before selecting Social Security retirement options.
5: Experiencing Government Cuts
Even though President Trump has promised to keep Social Security benefits that could change. Political directions can change with the multitude of influencers in government and business. Nothing is guaranteed.
Keep your eye out for any policy changes.
6: Funding Running Out
NBC claims Social Security could run out by 2034, but this is mostly speculative and there is much disagreement. Numerous options exist to extend the benefit periods well into the next century, taxes could be raised to fund it further or benefits could be reduced. However, issues with Social Security should get better with younger, lower-population generations. Baby Boomers entering retirement in record numbers have strained the system.
7: Start Saving
Do not rely on Social Security as your primary retirement vehicle. Instead save enough to provide for retirement. You can do this through an IRA, 401(k), Bank CDs, bonds, annuities, simple savings account or a combination.
Social Security can be confusing, seek help. Call the Social Security Administration. You can even schedule a meeting with your local SSA office.