Social Security is usually the first thing taken into account when people think about funding their own futures. But by the time many people reach that age, perhaps in less than 15 years, we will be seeing decreases in social security benefits. Now that secure future is looking a little shaky and more unstable. What can you do about it? What can be done to help secure your future now more than later?
There are a few more things you can do to help yourself than you might think.
- Access your benefits wisely: Claiming Social Security at 62 may be tempting, but I recommend waiting until 70. Your patience will be rewarded by higher monthly benefits.
- Don’t take the government’s word for it: JHA works with Social Security all the time, and we know from experience that call center representatives often give the wrong answer. That’s why we recommend consulting your financial advisor before you change anything about your benefits. Note: You have one year to change your mind and start over, if you pay back the benefits you’ve already received.
- Don’t leave money on the table: Things like divorced spouse benefits will allow you to compare two different benefit plans: Your own, or half of your ex-spouse’s — if you’ve been married long enough. Again, talk to your financial planner or ask for a referral.
- Use resources available to you: This article in Investopedia points out that the Social Security Administration has a variety of calculators and estimators to help inform your decision, including: Retirement Estimator, Benefits Planner, and Life Expectancy Calculator.
We love talking about retirement at JHA… for no particular reason. I think my strategy will be to just take longer and longer vacations until they eventually take up the whole year. If you need help creating a spending plan to reach your retirement goals — or a referral to a great financial professional — contact us.