5 Tips to Get the Most Money From Social Security
There are a plethora of myths surrounding Social Security that encourage people to make early claims and therefore lose the chance of getting more money. If you can help it at all, delay your application and put yourself in the position of receiving bigger checks for life. Follow the tips below to maximize your benefits.
- You are better off delaying your Social Security benefits.
Here are the numbers: Benefits increase by 7% annually between age 62 your full retirement age, and by 8% annually between full retirement age and age 70. Considering recent trends like longer life expectancies, current low interest rates, and rules regarding survivor benefits, most people are better off delaying Social Security.
- Do not underestimate your life expectancy.
Most people underestimate how long they are likely to live. Do not be one of them. According to the Social Security Administration, a 65 year old male today can expect to live until 84 while a 65 year old female can expect to live until 86. More interesting, couples who are 65 today have 50% odds of having one spouse live up to 92. Summary: life expectancies are simply longer so if you can hold off on making your Social Security claim, do it.
- Be cautious about investing an early claim.
Investing your money is good but there are no guarantees of returns, especially high returns that you are sure to get if you delay your application for Social Security. You will have to take a lot of risk to grow your money and this move can easily go south when the stock or real estate markets go in the red.
- You do not have to claim Social Security directly after quitting your job.
Delaying application has many benefits so give it a try if possible. Tap into your retirement funds or other savings before making your claim. You do not have to wait until you are 70 to receive substantial returns though. Just delaying it by a few years, say when you are 62 to 66, will generate about 33% annual increase in your standard living. Who would not want that?
- Trust in the system.
Some people apply early because of worries that Social Security will go bankrupt. At the very worst, if no changes in Congress happen, the system will only be able to pay 80% of benefits in 2035. While it is not ideal, 80% is clearly very far from zero. Congress is bound to fix Social Security so calm down. Claiming your benefit early only means settling for smaller checks. Why will you do that when you can definitely have more money coming in from Social Security?