If you are like most people, you are looking forward to the day that you retire. This does not mean that you stop living, but it means that you are able to enjoy your life without feeling tied down to a job. This is the moment in your life that you have been waiting for. Of course, to do what you want requires at least some money coming in on a regular basis. With people longer than ever before today, it is not wise to depend on your savings along during your golden years. You will want to have a steady stream of income coming in each month that you can depend upon to provide for much of your daily needs. It might seem as if social security is not what it is cracked up to be. You will almost certainly wish that you had more coming in each month. That aside, there are some ways that you can actually boost your monthly social security benefits and enjoy your retirement even more. Here are 10 creative ways to do just that.
1. Make sure you work for a minimum of 35 years.
Believe it or not, social security benefits are calculated based on 35 years of work. So, the algorithm that goes into determining your monthly benefit takes into account the most money that you earned for 35 years. If you do not hit that 35 year mark, then zeros will be added into the equation and this will decrease the amount of your payout over time.
2. Strive to earn as much as possible.
You might think that your actual earnings do not matter when it comes to social security, but that is not true. The more money that you make throughout your life, the higher your benefits will be. Remember that part time and side jobs count here, so do not discount their importance. Everything is calculated over the span of your working life, up to a total of $132,900 per year at the current time. Every little bit can make a big difference when it comes time to claim your payout.
3. Work until you are of a full age for retirement.
You will want to keep working up until your retirement age, which is currently age 66 or 67. If you do stop working before then, try to hold off on claiming any benefits. This is because monthly benefits are permanently reduced if you start to claim them early. While you can start getting social security benefits as early as age 62, it is not advisable to do so because of that fact alone. Waiting until your full age will gain you much more over the course of your retirement, particularly if you live to a ripe old age as you hope to do.
4. Do not claim benefits until you are 70 years of age.
While the full retirement age is 66 or 67, many people do not realize that they can actually wait to claim their benefit payments until age 70. If you do that, the amount of monthly benefit will increase by about eight percent each year up until that point. If you live a long time in retirement, this can really add up. Keep in mind that this increase does stop once you hit 70, so that is when you will really want to start claiming your benefits no matter what.
5. Make sure you claim spousal benefits.
Keep in mind that a spouse is able to claim social security benefits as well. You can either claim your own, or you can claim up to 50 percent of the spouse’s social security if their benefits are higher. It is important to keep in mind that you can also claim benefits from your ex-spouses work record as long as you were married for a minimum of ten years.
6. Be sure to include your family.
You might have dependent children under the age of 19 when you are retired. If so, it is possible to get additional payments for them. This could amount to as much as 50 percent of your total benefit when averaged on an annual basis.
7. Do not earn too much money when you are retired.
This is your time to stop working. If you do need to work, don’t make too much money. If you make more than $17,640 this year, for example, you will lose $1 for every $2 you make over that amount. This is a big hit that you do not want to take just to keep working.
8. Keep your social security taxes as low as possible.
Nobody likes to pay taxes, so you want to keep these as low as possible when it comes to your social security benefits. Your social security benefit may become taxable if you exceed a certain income bracket in retirement. Keep that in mind.
9. Get the maximum survivor’s benefits.
If your spouse dies before you, you are entitled to their benefit payment if it is more than what you currently get. You can increase this amount as a surviving spouse if you delay claiming the benefit as mentioned earlier in this post.
10. Make sure every job you have is counted.
You can now check your social security statement online. Check it annually to make sure that every job you have is listed there. Go all the way back to those jobs you had in high school. You want to make sure that everything is recorded so that you get proper credit for it when the time comes.
These ten tips will help you to get the most out of your social security benefits. Remember that this is something that you have earned throughout your entire working life, so it is important that you get the most out of it that you can. With a bit of planning, you can do just that. This will allow you to enjoy your retirement that much more, knowing that you are getting the maximum monthly benefit from social security that you can.