Here’s How Social Security Can Save You in Retirement
Most of us know by now that it’s important to set aside money for retirement. But doing so is often easier said than done.
It’s hard to allocate a portion of our paychecks to an IRA or 401(k) plan when living expenses keep rising. And so it’s easy to see why so many people approach retirement with little money to their name.
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In fact, according to a recent survey by Transamerica, the average retirement savings amount among workers today is only $93,000. And while that’s certainly a respectable amount until your 20s or 30s, it means you’re not in the greatest place if that’s all you have until you reach your 60s.
If you’re coming into your later years with a nest egg that lacks funding, here’s some good news. Social Security can help you salvage your retirement — and avoid being cash-strapped during it.
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It’s all about maximizing your benefits
One of the most amazing things about Social Security is that it gives you monthly benefits for the rest of your life. The higher the benefit to start, the more money you’ll have to wait for during retirement.
Your monthly benefit is calculated based on your personal income record during your 35 highest-paying years in the workforce. From there, the age at which you file will determine how much money you get on a monthly basis.
If you file at your full retirement age, which is either 66, 67, or somewhere in between, depending on the year you were born, you’ll be entitled to your full monthly benefits based on your earnings history. Meanwhile, you’re allowed to claim Social Security at age 62, but for each month you file before full retirement age, your benefits will decrease.
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There is also an option to delay your filing before full retirement age. And if you’re entering retirement low on savings, it’s an option worth pursuing.
For each month you stop claiming Social Security, your monthly benefit will increase by about two-thirds of 1%. This means that for every year you delay filling in at full retirement age, your benefit will increase by 8%.
Once you turn 70, you cannot increase your benefits. But if your full retirement age is 67, waiting until 70 to file for Social Security will boost your benefits by a 24% — for life.
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Delay Your Filing as a Backup Plan
In an ideal world, you would enter retirement with lots of money in an IRA or 401(k). But many seniors end up in the opposite boat – they are on the verge of retirement with little money in savings.
If that’s the case, delaying Social Security can serve as your backup plan. It’s not the same thing as withdrawing from a pile of cash, but it may just be the thing that saves you from cash crunch and maximum stress throughout your senior years.