Social security and savings are two main sources of retirement income. The more you can increase both, the better off you will be in your later years. The good news is that you actually have several options for increasing the amount of your Social Security checks.
Taking any (or all) of these five steps can help you end up with larger retirement benefits, which should give you more financial freedom once you run out of paychecks.
1. Climb the career ladder
The more income you have during your career, the more your Social Security benefits can increase.
Every year you pay taxes on your income up to a defined maximum income called the basic salary limit (which most people do not reach). The Social Security Administration records the amount of income you have been taxed on and this becomes part of your work record.
The income in your work record is then adjusted for inflation and the SSA calculates an average monthly salary using the 35 years that your income was highest. The benefits correspond to a percentage of this average salary. This means that the more money you can earn each year, the higher your benefits will ultimately be.
Earning more money comes from developing better professional skills and advancing in your profession. So if you want more Social Security income, make sure that your career path gives you the opportunity to steadily increase your income.
2. Work longer
The longer your employment history, the more potential years of earnings you could have included when your average salary is calculated by the SSA.
If you don’t have a 35-year career, your average salary will include a few years of $ 0 earnings. If your career lasts exactly 35 years – or is only 36 or 37 years – then most or all of your working years will fall into your average. This is true even if you’ve had a few years where your earnings weren’t very high because you were just starting out or were unemployed part of the time.
If you’ve climbed the career ladder and earn more later in life, working for several extra years can have a significant impact on the amount of your Social Security checks. With more years of work potentially to be included in your average salary calculation, some of those lower paid years end up being excluded.
3. Claim your late benefits
Seniors who wait until the age of 70 to begin their Social Security checks receive higher monthly benefits than those who apply for benefits earlier. The retirement benefit program is designed that way.
Retirees have a choice of when to start benefits and can claim them between the ages of 62 and 70. But early filers are subject to a reduction in benefits while late filers earn an increase. If you want a higher Social Security income, you will have to wait so that you can earn the deferred retirement credits that translate to the highest possible monthly check.
4. Develop a complaints strategy with your spouse
Married couples should consider all of the different ways to claim social security, especially if one partner has earned more than the other. If a lower-income spouse starts their checks earlier, the higher-income spouse can allow their benefits to increase. This could sometimes lead to a higher lifetime income for the couple.
This is just one of dozens of different approaches senior couples could take. Make sure you explore them all and decide which combination of ranking strategies is right for you.
5. Claim all the benefits you can
Most people are familiar with Social Security retirement benefits. But there are others as well, including Supplemental Security Income for disabled and low-income seniors with limited financial resources.
Chat with representatives from the Social Security Administration and go over all the different types of benefits you may be entitled to to make sure you’re maximizing your income.
By taking these steps, you will hopefully receive many Social Security benefits throughout your retirement. This money can go a long way in ensuring that you can live a comfortable life without serious financial worries in your later years.