Retirement Strategies That Can Boost Your Social Security Income

If you work for just 10 years and pay Social Security taxes, you’re entitled to a Social Security check when you retire. Of course, you’ll need far more than that if you want to be anywhere near the maximum of $3,800 a month if you retire at 70, but you’ll be able to collect something even with only 10 years

Time is of the essence when it comes to Social Security.

If you are entitled to the maximum benefit, you can collect a little over $2,200 a month at age 62, $2,900 a month at full retirement age (66), or $3,800 a month if you wait to file until you’re 70. At first glance, the obvious best choice is to delay benefits until age 70, when your check is almost double your benefit at 62

If you don’t plan to work until 70 and must cover your living expenses until then by other means, delaying benefits could lead to debt or depleting your savings too soon. It's important to do the math based on your specific personal circumstances before deciding when to file.

When It Comes To Obtaining Social Security Benefits Through Marriage

By taking advantage of Social Security's idiosyncrasies and loopholes, married couples can boost their retirement income. If you are married, the lower-earning spouse is entitled to the greater of either his or her benefits based on earnings or 50% of the higher-earning spouse’s amount.

How To Maximize Your 35-Year Earnings Record

The amount of your Social Security check is calculated using your average salary from the past 35 years. If you work longer than 35 years, your benefit is based on the 35 years with the highest earnings.

For example: David worked for 35 years, earning between $30,000 and $125,000 a year. His Social Security benefit was based on an average annual income of $75,000.

Melissa earned over $150,000 a year for 15 years but had no income during the other 20 years. Even though she made a lot more per year than David, her Social Security benefit was based on an average annual income of just $50,000.

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