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How to Score a Higher Social Security Paycheck

You’ve worked hard all your life and are probably looking forward to that “kick back and relax,’ stage of your life where you can just live off your Social Security checks.  Not so fast.  There may not be enough to live off  from that one source of income.  It’s not too late to supplement that income, however, so you can do all the things you dreamed of doing in retirement.

While Social Security checks are reassuring and a guaranteed income, it most likely won’t be enough.  There are so many variables to consider, such as your debt, ( if any) your spouse’s ( if applicable ) income and your lifestyle.  If you want the lifestyle of the rich and famous with champagne taste and caviar dreams, and you’ve had a minimum wage job all your life, then you’re going to need a reality check. Then of course you have to take in inflation, out of pocket medical expenses and any other number of unforeseen expenses.  Fear not; there is hope.

Certainly many people choose to continue their careers, or a watered down resemblance of it, just for their love of their work.  Maybe you can still work part time at a job you’re not ready to retire from.  Maintaining that sense of purpose, social connection and contribution to society will not only pad your bank account but is good for your mental health as well.  You should always be on the lookout for ways to boost your income as well as your quality of life.  If you’re 65 and still in the workforce, you may want to  also consider working overtime, asking for a raise, or looking for a better paying job elsewhere.  Plenty of employers are still hiring seniors and many offering virtual work from home environments.  You’ve got decades of experience to still offer the workforce, like in the heartwarming movie “The Intern” with Robert De Niro. 

You can also turn that neglected hobby into a side source of income so long as you remember to set aside money for taxes and stay on good terms with the IRS.

Another way you can maximize your retirement income is you can choose to delay your benefits.  Maybe your spouse’s income is enough to live on.  While you can apply for Social security as early as 62, you can wait until aged 66-67 for your full benefits to kick in. If you choose to dip into your Social Security early, know that your paycheck will be smaller.  Those who sign up right away at 62 only get 70% of their full benefit per check whereas if you wait until 67, you will get 75%, according to the statistics chart below as stated by the Social Security Administration.

Another thing to consider is to maximize your benefits based on your spouse’s benefits.  If both partners worked, each may either claim separately or use a spousal benefit which is up to 50% of their partners benefit at their full retirement benefit age ( FRA) .

The table below shows how much of your full benefits you’ll receive, depending on when you start collecting:

Start Collecting at:FRA of 66 FRA of 67 
6275%70%
6380%75%
6486.7%80%
6593.3%86.7%
66100%93.3%
67108%100%
68116%108%
69124%116%
70132%124%

Data source: Social Security Administration. 

Not everyone can afford to delay – some will simply need that retirement income as soon as they can get it, perhaps due to an unexpected job loss or health setback. But if you can delay, it will boost the size of your benefit checks.

You have lots of choices to make and decide what’s most important in your golden years.  Decide what’s best for you. 

For all your Medicare/Medicaid needs, let us support the best quality of life in your retirement years; give us a call. 

Regardless of your situation, we’ve got you covered! 

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