Have you ever stopped to consider how important social security will be in your financial future? Having studied social security, I have learned it is more important than I ever imagined it would be.
Statistics show that for every 2 out of 3 retirees, social security provides more than 50% of their retirement income; for others, social security provides 90% or more. Since social security is such a large part of your retirement future, it only makes sense to plan ahead and learn ways to maximize your benefits.
To begin, you should get a copy of your social security statement. The Social Security Administration (SSA) used to send them by regular mail, but in 2012 the SSA unveiled its online statement program called My Social Security Account which can be found at www.SocialSecurity.gov/mystatement. Once you create your account, you will then be able to access your statement.
Your statement will provide the following information:
- your full retirement age (FRA)
- your estimated benefit at FRA
- estimated benefit if you claim your benefit early, at age 62
- estimated benefit if you delay claiming your benefit until age 70
- other important information
When is the best time for you to claim your Social Security retirement benefits?
The answer depends on your unique situation. Consideration is given to your financial needs during retirement, if you will continue to work, other retirement income, and your health and life expectancy. Your FRA will even be taken into consideration when trying to determine the best time to claim.
Did you know that your age when you begin your benefits could cause your benefit amount to change?
Your FRA is based on the year you were born and will be in the range of age 65 to 67. You can begin claiming your benefits at age 62 or delay claiming until age 70. If you begin your benefits early, before your FRA, your benefit amount can be reduced by up to 30%. If you delay claiming your benefits until after your FRA, your benefit amount can be increased by up to 32%. This is a 62% swing!
There are several claiming strategies available to help you maximize your benefits. Some of these strategies will work for you and others will not. We can help you determine which Social Security claiming strategy is best for you so that you will know what choices to make when it comes time for you to claim your benefits.
Planning ahead is always best. We look forward to helping you strategize to maximize your retirement income. Call one of our Retirement Income Professionals at 225-926-1050 to schedule your discovery meeting today.