#SocialSecurity #retirement #savings #earnings
It’s a question discussed numerous times in this space: when to take Social Security.
Maurie Backman of The Motley Fool took it on in a Christmas Day article, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Take it early, at age 62, and you get a lesser amount than you would at your full retirement age. But, if you have already retired and need to cobble together an income, taking Social Security early is an option.
Of course, the longer you wait to take it, the bigger your check will be. Wait until age 70, and your check could be pretty good-sized.
Backman cites three reasons he believes taking Social Security at age 62 might be a good idea for you: first, you are unable to work (or are having trouble finding a job, even though you are able to work); you’re in bad health; and, you’ve earned the right not to wait.
All those reasons make sense for some people. But everyone’s situation is different. Here’s one rule of thumb for everyone: don’t take it early just because you fear the government will run out of money and the checks will stop. Most experts believe Social Security will be around for quite some time, even if the government does nothing about the funding. Benefits may have to be adjusted in the future, they say, but it’s unlikely to go away entirely.
When making the Social Security decision, consider the following: what other income do you have, or will you have, in retirement. Income includes pensions, dividends and interest from your savings and investments and, perhaps, a no-stress, part-time job. Income, for some, may also include a full-time job. Yes, there are those who love their jobs enough that they don’t want to retire. If you are fortunate enough to be in that situation, and your employer will keep you on forever, that’s excellent.
Most folks, though, have jobs that will get old after a while, if they haven’t already. Others may have employers that are eager to get them retired, or at least out of their employ.
It’s a good idea, if you are among the latter categories, to have a Plan B in place that will give you income that will enable you to go with whatever happens, “retire” when you want and potentially give you financial freedom. Many such vehicles involve only a few part-time hours a week, with the potential to dwarf your working income. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Also, as you ponder when to take your Social Security, know that no matter how many years you paid into it, and no matter how good your income was, that government check alone probably won’t give you enough money to give you the retirement you want. You WILL need some other financial resources.
If you haven’t yet retired, and don’t know what your resources will be when you do retire, it’s time to start planning for it. The earlier you start planning, and the more disciplined you are, the better off you’ll be when you get older.
So, start saving, and get a good, trusted financial adviser to guide you in retirement planning. Remember, too, that retirement planning isn’t all about money, though money is a big factor. Know what you’ll want to do when you retire, and plan to make that happen.
The Social Security office nearest you can give you your options, based on your income. The wise person will have a plan so that, no matter when he or she retires, he or she will never run out of money.


#SocialSecurity #pensions #WhenToTakeSocialSecurity

Some people may want to take their Social Security immediately upon eligibility, just because they need the money.

For others, waiting may be a better option, even if you have to dip into your retirement savings while you wait.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tackled this decision in an article published Oct. 8, 2018.

In the article, Perry Volpone was determined to take his Social Security as soon as he retired. His financial adviser, Dana Anspach, argued against it. She urged the former retail executive, then 65, to put off applying for Social Security for five more years, because his monthly benefit would increase, the article says.

“(Taking the benefit immediately) would make me more comfortable,” Volpone argued. “The whole thing is just so much more complex than you think,” the article quotes him.

Here are the facts, as stated in the article: For each year past your full retirement age that you put off applying for Social Security, your monthly benefit will increase by 8 percent. That does not include any cost-of-living adjustments the government makes – as it did recently.

Here’s what you have to decide: How much, on average, are you earning with your retirement savings, plus any pension you might be receiving? If your savings – should we say, investments? – are earning you, on average, less than 8 percent a year, can you supplement your income through the dividends and interests on your investments, plus any pensions or other income, to allow you to keep your Social Security “in the bank” for five years or so?

Though that may require some thought, and good advice, as Volpone was getting in the article, there are some no-brainer decisions: if you have little or no retirement savings, and no pension, take your Social Security as soon as you can.

By the same token, if you have a good retirement nest egg, that’s kicking off good earnings that you can tap for living expenses, and/or you have a good pension, postponing Social Security until age 70 is also an easy decision.

If you are married, and both spouses qualify for Social Security benefits, the best decision might be to take the lower-earning spouse’s Social Security at that person’s full retirement age – say, 66 or 67 – and postpone taking the higher-earning spouse’s Social Security until that spouse turns 70. When one spouse dies, the other spouse gets only one check, and the higher-earning spouse’s check is going to be better.

A decision people make rashly is to take Social Security immediately upon qualification, because they believe it’s going to run out of money before they die. Most experts believe Social Security will be around in some form no matter what, if anything, government does to “fix” it.

There is something else to consider. What if there were a way a person, retired or not, could make extra money by committing a few, part-time hours a week working at something that would not feel like a “second job?”

There are many such vehicles out there for those willing to check them out. To find out about one of the best, message me.

In short, most of us dutifully paid into Social Security while working. When it was created, no one predicted the longer life span that medical and other science has given us, so there have been some financial headaches with the system.

Still, most predict it will never go away entirely, though we may see some combination of benefit reductions and increases in the retirement age in the future.

But, Social Security alone will not give you the retirement lifestyle you probably want. It can be part, but should not all, of your retirement income. It’s up to you to decide what kind of retirement you want, and use your working years to save, invest and prepare for it.

The younger you start doing that, the better prepared you will be when you get older.