Social Security Benefits: 3 Key Strategies Before Collecting
Are you worried about paying bills after you retire? Social Security benefits can be a great additional source of income to help maintain your standard of living when you reach retirement age. However, not knowing when and how to start collecting benefits, could hurt you financially.
If you plan on receiving benefits at the wrong time, you could end up getting less than what you’ve accrued over the years. Whether a Millennial, Generation Xer or Baby Boomer—it’s important to navigate these 3 key issues to get the optimum benefit you’re eligible for:
1. How are Social Security Benefits Calculated?
Determining the estimated benefit amount, can be tricky. It’s calculated based on lifetime earnings up until the date you choose to retire. Of course, wages have likely changed many times over the course of your work life. The estimated benefit amount is continually adjusted to reflect the average wage received during your 35 top income-earning years. The actual amount of benefits can also change based on the age you decide to retire.
2. What Age Can I Start Receiving Social Security Benefits?
Everyone’s financial, work, and health situation is different. However, there are three different age options to consider when choosing to draw retirement benefits: at age 62, between the ages of 65-67 the normal age of retirement (NRA), or delaying retirement benefits until age 70.
Age 62—the youngest age you first become eligible to receive your accrued benefits. However, this is a few years shy of the normal retirement age (NRA) threshold of 65 to 67. Because of this, your benefits will be reduced by approximately 25%.
Ages between 65 to 67—this is the full retirement age at which you can begin receiving social security income. This will vary based on the year and month you were born.
Age 70—If your investment strategy makes this option financially feasible for you, this is a great way to maximize the amount of benefit you receive.
3. Can I Work and Collect Social Security Benefits?
As life expectancy increases with a better quality of life, some find they are able and eager to continue working past the age of retirement. Perhaps you decide to retire from your full-time job but would like to start working elsewhere or launch your own small business. Will this decision impact whether you are eligible for SSA benefits, or the amount you receive? It might. Let’s take a look at how your benefits can change based on how you navigate this decision:
Continue working, receive SSA benefits—you can always continue to work and receive SSA benefits. But your benefits may be reduced depending on your age and how much you earn.
Continue working, do not receive SSA benefits—an optimal choice if you can make it work financially. Your benefits will continue to increase up to age 70.
Stop working, receive SSA benefits—if you stop working and start receiving your benefits, your age will absolutely have an impact on how much you are eligible to receive.
Stop working, do not receive SSA benefits—the financial impact here is similar to the previous example, at least until you reach age 70.
Although you can work while collecting social security payments, it might not be the best financial decision. Before making that call, evaluate your financial needs, health, and mix of additional retirement plans.
At NIHFCU we’re here to help guide you through these critical decisions. Reserve your virtual seat now for our July 21 webinar, Social Security and Your Retirement, to get more inside information on social security benefits and planning. Or, contact NIHFCU Wealth Advisors to speak to an advisor today!