WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE SOCIAL SECURITY?

#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.

Peter

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