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Social Security Maximization

No matter how much you've managed to stash away for retirement so far, there's still a good chance that social security will make up a huge percentage of your income once you stop working.

That's why social security maximization is such an important part of retirement planning. It's about making sure you have enough to live comfortably in your golden years—which could be 30 years-plus after you retire!

To ensure you're maximizing your benefits, Amanda Stilwell, CSA offers top-notch advisory services that can help you reach your goals as quickly as possible.

What Is Social Security Maximization?

Put simply, social security maximization is a strategy that aims to maximize the total lifetime income you get from social security. To do this, you need to know what your options are and how each one affects your retirement security.

The process involves running through different scenarios to determine how taking social security benefits at different ages and in different combinations will affect your benefits over time. It can also describe spousal benefits and survivor benefits.

Why Is Social Security Maximization Important?

Social security will account for a large portion of your retirement income during your golden years. In fact, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), most Americans receive over 50% of their retirement income from their Social Security benefits. You must make the most of this program by understanding how it works and knowing which strategies can help boost your benefits for life.

Social Security Advisors. Maximize Your Benefits.

The key to maximizing your social security benefits is knowing when to file for them. If you claim benefits too early, you'll receive smaller checks for a longer period. On the other hand, if you wait too long, you might miss out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime income.

A social security advisor can show you how to maximize your benefits by recommending the optimal age at which to claim them.

They'll also help you understand:

  • How much income you can get from social security and how it will change over time
  • The impact social security has on your taxes, retirement savings strategies, and overall financial plan
  • How to maximize spousal benefits and survivor benefits
  • The best age for you to start receiving benefits
  • Income limits and how they affect you.

What Is the Best Way To Maximize Social Security Benefits?

The Social Security Administration offers a variety of options for claiming benefits. For most people, the best choice is to delay claiming as long as possible, because that way you'll get bigger monthly checks.

Once you reach full retirement age, for every year you postpone claiming until age 70, you get a 7-8% increase in your eventual monthly benefit. That's like getting an 8% guaranteed raise every year until you do claim.

A professional financial advisor can guide you through the process to help you get the most out of your social security benefits.

What Are the Rules?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers a wealth of information about its programs, but there are so many rules, restrictions, and exceptions that it is easy to become confused. Here are some key factors to consider:

Income limits

You should also consider the impact of your income on any potential benefits you might be eligible for. If your earnings exceed certain limits, your Social Security payments may be reduced or even withheld altogether. This is a common problem for high earners who choose to take early benefits and continue working until age 66 or even later (full retirement age).

Social Security Timing

You can choose to take early retirement at 62, but the reduced monthly payments may not be enough for you to live on. If you wait until "full retirement age" (66-67 currently), your payments will be higher. Even better, if you delay retirement past full retirement age until age 70, then your payments will be the maximum allowed by law — 32% higher than if you had taken payments at full retirement age!

Spousal Benefits

If you are married, you may be able to receive spousal benefits on your spouse's work record. You can do this in addition to collecting Social Security on your work record or in lieu of benefits on your record.

Ex-spousal Benefits

The rules have changed in recent years. However, if you've been divorced for two years or more and were married for at least 10 years, you're entitled to an ex-spousal benefit based on your former spouse's work record.

At What Age Is Social Security Maximized?

The ideal retirement age for Social Security purposes is between 66 and 70, depending on your situation. Generally, the longer you can wait to claim your benefits, the higher your monthly payments will be.

Full Retirement Age

Full retirement age is the age at which you are entitled to receive your full Social Security benefit, based on the year of your birth. It ranges from 65 to 67 and increases gradually for people born in 1960 or later. If you receive Social Security benefits before reaching full retirement age, those benefits are reduced by a certain amount each month you receive them early.

Deferring Your Benefits

You can begin receiving benefits as early as 62, but your benefits are reduced by 25 percent if you do so. You'll get a higher return if you wait until full retirement age or beyond to begin receiving benefits. If you wait until 70, when your benefit has increased by 8 percent per year since full retirement age, you can earn up to an additional 32 percent compared with receiving benefits at 62.

Why You Should Work With a Professional Advisor

Why You Should Work With a Professional Advisor

You worked hard to earn your social security benefits, so naturally, you want them to be as valuable as possible. By maximizing your benefits the right way, you'll be in a better position to afford the retirement of your dreams.

We specialize in helping clients maximize their social security benefits and reach their financial goals. Our team of specialists will walk you through a holistic assessment of your financial situation to help you reach your financial goals.

Contact us today for more information.

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