Tag Archive | "what you should know about social security – before you retire"

Changes To Social Security for 2013


Whether you’re already retired, getting ready or just dreaming, your future financial security will be affected by these changes to Social Security for 2013.

Learn about changes to Social Security for 2013.

Changes to Social Security for 2013

Some good, some bad — depending on how you look at them — here are seven changes being implemented by the Social Security Administration in the coming year.

1. Payroll tax cut ends.

2. Higher payroll tax cap.

3. More online services.

4. Reduced office hours.

5. Paper checks will end.

6. Higher earnings limit.

7. Bigger payments.

To ensure you’re getting all the Social Security benefits to which you’re entitled, take the time to get online and familiarize yourself with the Social Security Administration website — www.ssa.gov — to learn all you need to know about changes to Social Security for 2013.

Click here to read more about changes to Social Security for 2013.

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Get the Most From Social Security When You Retire


In the past couple posts, we’ve touched on six things you should know about Social Security — before you retire. There are three more you should understand to guarantee you get the most from Social Security when you retire.

Get the most from Social Security when you retire

Maximize your spouse’s benefits – legally

Here’s a Social Security claiming strategy that’s perfectly legal and potentially lucrative. Let’s say a husband decides he wants to delay taking his benefit until age 70 to maximize the amount of his monthly check. But he wants his wife to be able to take a spousal benefit, because it would be higher than her own benefit.

To make that happen, the husband, who must be at full retirement age, can file for his benefits and then immediately suspend them. Because he has applied for benefits, his wife can now take a spousal benefit based on his record. And because he suspended his own benefit, his benefit will earn delayed retirement credits.

You may have to pay taxes on your benefits

Benefits lost their tax-free status in 1984, and the income thresholds for triggering tax on benefits haven’t been increased since then. As a result, it doesn’t take a lot of income for your benefits to be pinched by Uncle Sam. For example, a married couple with a combined income of more than $32,000 may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of their benefits. Higher earners may have to pay income tax on up to 85% of their benefits.

You may have to take the “earnings test”

Bringing in too much money can cost you if you take Social Security benefits early while you are still working. With what is commonly known as the earnings test, you will forfeit $1 in benefits for every $2 you make over the earnings limit, which in 2012 is $14,640. Once you are past full retirement age, the earnings test disappears and you can make as much money as you want with no impact on benefits.

Social Security has a lot to offer retirees and it’s easy to maximize Social Security retirement benefits. Take the time to learn about the program and you’ll get the most from Social Security when you retire.

Click here to read more about how to maximize social security benefits

Click here to read: What You Should Know About Social Security – Before You Retire

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Maximize Social Security Retirement Benefits


Yesterday, we looked at some of the things you should know about Social Security — before you retire, but we only scratched the surface. There’s much more to know if you want to maximize Social Security retirement benefits.

Maximize Social Security Retirement Benefits

Social Security provides survivor benefits

If your spouse dies before you, you can take a so-called survivor benefit. If you are at full retirement age, that benefit is worth 100% of what your spouse was receiving at the time of his or her death (or 100% of what your spouse would have been eligible to receive if he or she hadn’t yet taken benefits).

Spousal benefits are available — even after a divorce

Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you’ve lost the ability to get a benefit based on your former spouse’s earnings record. You can still qualify to receive a benefit based on his or her record if you were married at least ten years and you are 62 or older.

Increase your benefits by delaying your claim

Once you hit full retirement age, you can choose to wait to take your benefit. There’s a big bonus to delaying your claim — your benefit will grow by 8% a year up until age 70. Any cost-of-living adjustments will be included, too, so you don’t forgo those by waiting.

By understanding how the program works, it’s easy to maximize Social Security retirement benefits. I’ll cover the remaining tips in tomorrow’ post.

Click here to read more about how to maximize social security benefits.

Click here to read yesterday’s post: What You Should Know About Social Security – Before You Retire.

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What You Should Know About Social Security – Before You Retire


One of the few relative certainties about retirement has been Social Security, but as you’re probably aware, it — along with other retiree “entitlements” — are much less certain than they used to be. To better prepare for retirement, let’s take a look at what you should know about Social Security — before you retire.

What you should know about Social Security — before you retire

According to the latest annual report from the Social Security Board of Trustees, the “retirement program would only be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits starting in 2033, three years earlier than projected last year.” While you can’t control what the government will do to fix the problem, you can take the necessary steps to understand Social Security and what you need to do to maximize your benefits.

How much you collect is based on your age.

For people born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is 66. It gradually climbs toward 67 if your birthday falls between 1955 and 1959. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67. You can collect Social Security as soon as you turn 62, but taking benefits before full retirement age results in a permanent reduction of as much as 25% of your benefit.

Benefits are based on your work history.

Your benefit is based on the 35 years in which you earned the most money. If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, each year with no earnings will be factored in at zero. The benefit isn’t based on 35 consecutive years of work, but the highest-earning 35 years.

Your benefits are adjusted for inflation.

One of the most attractive features of Social Security benefits is that every year, the government adjusts the benefit for inflation. Known as a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, this inflation protection can help you keep up with rising living expenses during retirement. The COLA, which is automatic, is quite valuable; buying inflation protection on a private annuity can cost a pretty penny.

It helps to be married.

Marriage brings couples an advantage when it comes to Social Security. Namely, one spouse can take what’s called a spousal benefit, worth up to 50% of the other spouse’s benefit. Put simply, if your benefit is worth $2,000 but your spouse’s is only worth $500, your spouse can switch to a spousal benefit worth $1,000 — bringing in $500 more in income per month.

These are just a glimpse of what you should know about Social Security — before you retire. I’ll be covering more in future posts.

Click here to read more about what you should know about Social Security — before you retire.

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