3 Social Security Strategies to Fund a Sweet Retirement | Smart Switch: Personal Finance

(Maurie Backman)

Whether it’s pursuing a hobby like golfing or sailing, traveling or going back to school, you may have lofty goals for retirement. Regardless of the goals you set for your senior year, the more money you have access to, the more likely you are to do the things you’ve always dreamed of.

That’s why it’s so important to get as much money out of Social Security as possible. And these strategies could help you do just that.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Extend your career

Social Security benefits are based on earnings, specifically the amount of money you earn during your most profitable 35 years in the workforce. If you’re nearing the end of your career and have a full 35 years of work under your belt, you’re in great shape. However, it might be profitable to extend your career by a couple of years if you find yourself at a point where your earnings have increased substantially.

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Imagine you are 60 years old and have recently worked your way up to a vice president position within your company that earns you a generous salary. If he sticks around a little longer, he can replace a year or two of lower earnings with higher ones, giving his monthly benefits a nice boost.

2. Delay your presentation

If you want to get the full monthly Social Security benefit you’re entitled to based on your wage history, you’ll need to wait until full retirement age (FRA) to apply. FRA is 66, 67, or something in between, depending on your year of birth.

That said, you do not have to apply on your accurate FRA. If you delay your claim, it will increase your benefits in the process. In fact, your benefits will increase 8% for each year you stop taking them, up to age 70. If you can hold out that long, you could get a 24% to 32% raise, depending on your exact age. FRA.

3. Coordinate with your spouse

It may be the case that both you and your spouse are entitled to Social Security benefits based on your respective earnings records. If so, you can play around with different file scenarios to see what makes the most sense.

A common strategy is to have people with lower incomes file for FRA benefits so that there is money coming into their household, while people with higher incomes delay filing. That way, that increased benefit can be turned into an even more substantial sum.

Of course, that’s not your only option. You can decide to have the higher-earning spouse claim benefits first if he wants to start receiving more money up front. The key is to think things through and file them at a time that makes sense both individually and collectively.

Make sure you have a plan

Social Security could end up being a major source of income for you once you stop working, so it’s important to think carefully about how to maximize and claim your benefits. The more money you can take out of the program, the more you can enjoy your retirement.

The $18,984 Social Security Bonus Most Retirees Completely Overlook

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