Luckily, there are ways to maximize those benefits.
I can hear you now. “Wait a minute…maximize my social security benefits? Don’t I have to just accept whatever I have coming to me?”
Social security benefits are there for you, but getting the most out of them is the key. Social security will replace about 40% of the typical workers’ pre-retirement income. For those earning $150,000 or more, that percentage drops to 27% on average.
While there are no tricks to receiving double your income from the Social Security Administration, it is possible to decrease your benefits by making the wrong decisions.
My job is to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Retirement—much like the Super Bowl—is the end game. And just like a coach working with their quarterback, there are things you’ll need to know in order to strategize how to get there.
Here are five simple things to consider when wanting to maximize your social security benefits.
1. There Are No Templates
All too often, folks track down a friend, family member, or neighbor who is collecting social security to ask, “What did you do?”
The problem with this is that, when it comes to finances, the two of you are worlds apart.
Following someone else’s financial strategy is like Tom Brady running on 1st and 10, rather than his trademark QB sneak.
No matter where you are in life, you have a unique set of different goals, objectives, and assets than every other person you know. Whatever you do, DON’T blindly follow someone else’s retirement plan!
2. Work As Long As You Can
In most cases, a longer earning history means higher benefits later on.
If you take an early retirement just because you’re sick of working, you can literally rob yourself of future benefits.
Even better news: a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that simply “delaying retirement by 3-6 months has the same impact on the retirement standard of living as saving an additional one-percentage point of labor earnings for 30 years.”
Talk about more bang for your buck!
3. Delay, Delay, Delay (Wait As Long As You Can)
After you reach your full retirement age (FRA), your benefits will continue to grow by 8% a year…but only until you reach age 70.
While you’re eligible for Social Security benefits as early as 62 years old, if you can wait it out until 70, you’ll maximize the monthly payments and can bring in as much as 132% of your Full Retirement Benefit.
If you’re planning on keeping your nose to the grindstone until you’re 80 to squeeze out every last drop of social security you can get, don’t bother. After 70, there is no additional benefit to waiting to retire.
4. Always Marry Up…Remarrying Can Cost You
If you’ve ever been divorced, you are entitled to a portion of your ex-spouse’s benefit if:
- You were married for 10 or more years AND
- You are at least 62 years old AND
- You have not remarried before age 62.
You need to meet ALL of these requirements in order to collect a portion of your ex-spouse’s social security (or your own benefits, whichever is greater). If your new love does not make as much money as your ex did, you should expect a significant “pay cut” post-retirement.
5. Have a Strategy
No one ever became rich by “winging it.” Just as the best athletes spend hours strategizing new plays and studying their opponent’s weaknesses, you need to have a strategy when it comes to your personal finance situation.
In the game of retirement, your income sources, assets, and debts are your team—they all have to work together to win. Having a strategy tells each member of your team what to do and how to do it.
But there is one thing a football team has that you don’t.
Your Financial Advisor = Your Coach
Much like the game of football, retirement isn’t just one quarter or one half, it is the entire game. We’ve all seen a game that looked like it was going to be a blowout, only to watch it all fall apart in the last few minutes.
But with the right financial advisor, you’ll have expert, one-on-one guidance for your retirement—not someone else’s. Think of it as having the best coach in the league on your side.
As the Financial Quarterback, I pride myself on retiring people. Many football players look at retirement as the end of the most important thing in their lives, when truly it is just the beginning.
While athletes may have earned a great deal of money playing, those with a concrete playbook that includes financial goals and planning always score big throughout the rest of their lives. This approach, paired with savvy investments and an income stream strategy that pays you while you do the things you want to do, is the way that retirement becomes the best years of your life.
So, if you want to get the most from your social security benefits and enjoy the type of retirement that allows you to make your own rules, start working on your playbook sooner rather than later.
Give me a call or fill out my contact form and we can talk with absolutely no obligation, 100% free. If you’re in your 50’s or 60’s and want to retire, we can collaborate on a customized plan that matches your goals, your dreams, and outlines a retirement that gives you the flexibility and freedom to do whatever you please.
You’ve worked hard for many years. It’s time to let your money work for you.