Did you know that you can pump up your Social Security checks to make your retirement more comfortable? You can influence your eventual payout with some key adjustments that are outlined below.
- Delay your claim.
You can start claiming your benefits at age 62 but you can also wait until your full retirement age for a bigger monthly check. If you claim immediately, your checks will be up to 30% smaller than if you had waited until you reached full retirement age.
- Claim when you reach age 70.
At 70, you get 132% of the monthly benefit because you delayed getting benefits for 48 months!
- Elevate your income.
Your Social Security benefit is partly based on your earnings so make sure you raise it. Focus on getting regular raises and plan for professional growth. Consider changing jobs if your salary has hit the ceiling in your current job.
- Consider spousal benefits.
If your spouse is receiving retirement benefits, you can receive up to half the amount, even if you never worked or are divorced.
- Increase your spousal benefits.
Here is another motivation to increase your income. When you die, your spouse receives survivor’s benefits. This is influenced by your earnings so a higher income means bigger checks.
- Settle your debts.
Your Social Security checks can be garnished for certain financial obligations including overdue federal taxes, federal student loans, alimony, and child support.
- Claim benefits for minor children.
Unmarried dependents can also benefit from your Social Security. Eligible children can be biological, adopted, stepchildren, or grandchildren, depending on their age and other circumstances.
- Keep working.
If you work for less than 35 years, you will miss out on earning years used to calculate your Social Security benefits. Make a point of working at least 35 years, and if possible, keep working until you reach your full retirement age to maximize your claim.
- Watch out for taxes.
There is no worry for taxes if your only income comes from Social Security. Bit if you have other sources, watch out because it can be taxed up to 85% of your benefits!
- Talk to a professional.
Consider seeking professional help to boost your benefits and avoid situations that can cut through your Social Security checks.