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4 Myths About Social Security That Could Cost You

Social Security is one of the most important government programs ever created as it has single-handedly kept millions of seniors out of poverty. Unfortunately, it’s also a complicated program that many people don’t know the intricacies of. 

Not only are many Americans in the dark about some major Social Security realities, but millions have also bought into falsehoods about this benefits program that could end up costing them. 

You don’t want to make decisions based on inaccurate assumptions, only to learn the truth too late, so read on to make sure you haven’t fallen for any of the following four common myths and misconceptions

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5 Facts About Your Social Security Benefit You Need to Know Before Retiring

For many seniors, Social Security makes retirement possible. But while benefits help sustain you, it’s important to have a realistic idea of how far they’ll go and how decisions you make impact the support they offer. 

It’s difficult to change course after claiming Social Security, so before you retire there are five facts you must know to make informed choices. 

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4 Situations Delaying a Social Security Claim Can Pay 

Seniors have the option to get their first Social Security check when they’re as young as 62. But, many people wait much longer — sometimes until age 70 for their first payment. 

Why would you put off getting money from the Social Security Administration if you’re eligible for it? The simple reason is that the longer you wait to claim monthly payments, the higher each one will be.  

That’s because every retiree has a full retirement age when they must file to get their standard benefit. Claiming before this FRA will shrink your monthly payment while waiting until after it will increase it. Full retirement age is between 66 and 67 depending on when you were born. Starting checks before this age could reduce payments as much as 30% due to early filing penalties, while waiting raises the amount of your monthly check by 8% for each year of delay.

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A Powerful Strategy To Maximize Social Security Survivor’s Benefits

how to maximize survivor benefits

If you are eligible for a survivor benefit from a deceased spouse (or ex-spouse), you need to know about a strategy that can supercharge your Social Security benefits. 

This can be powerful if you learn how to use it.

Up until 2016, switching between Social Security benefits was possible through several popular filing strategies. For example, an individual could file for spousal benefits and later switch back to their own benefits. This strategy would allow this person to collect a benefit while waiting on their own benefit to grow with the 8% per year delayed retirement credits. 

After some law changes in 2016, most of these Social Security filing strategies were eliminated. One of these strategies, however, is still in place, and it benefits those who are eligible for survivor benefits

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4 Biggest Factors Affecting Your Monthly Social Security Benefit 

While the average Social Security benefit in 2022 is just $1,657, the maximum benefit is a whopping $4,194 per month. 

Since there’s huge variation in the income retirees can receive from Social Security, it’s important to understand how decisions over your life affect the money you’ll receive. Specifically, here are four important factors that determine the amount of Social Security benefits you’ll end up with. 

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5 Social Security Mistakes That Can Devastate Your Retirement

A few year back, I got my private pilot’s license. As I learned about the mechanics of skillfully piloting an airplane, I started to realize that there were many similarities between flying a plan and planning for retirement.

Take this as an example: when you fly long distances, making constant adjustments is not optional… it’s a requirement. If you fly just one degree off course for a short 300 mile flight, you’d miss your target by 5 miles! 

Getting where you need to be, when you need to be there, requires precise navigation and constant adjustment. Planning for retirement is no different. 

Mistakes made when you are close to or at the point of retirement could be irreversible. This is especially the case when you are making decisions about Social Security.

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4 Situations It Pays to Claim Social Security Early

Seniors can start Social Security retirement benefits upon reaching age 62. But while filing for benefits ASAP is a popular choice, it’s considered claiming early — and it can shrink the amount of your monthly check.

See, every American has a full retirement age based on birth year. It’s between 66 and four months and 67. Starting checks even a month before FRA results in a permanent reduction of monthly benefits. And, if you begin checks far ahead of FRA by claiming at 62 instead of 67, you end up with a 30% cut to monthly payments.

While receiving less money each month isn’t fun, there are times when an early claim makes sense. In fact, here are four situations when it could be the very best choice. 

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Should You Accept a Lump Sum Social Security Payout?

lump sum social security payout

There are some cases where you can receive a lump sum Social Security payout. 

Overall, this may seem like a good deal. Having a lump sum means you can use that money right away instead of waiting for it to come in monthly installments.

But is a lump sum Social Security payout really a good idea? Read on to understand the pros and cons of this decision for yourself.

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How Much Income Does the Typical Retiree Get From Social Security?

Seniors must ensure they have a sufficient amount of retirement income to provide for their needs. For most retirees, their two primary income sources are Social Security and savings. This is why it’s so essential to understand how much retirement money will come from Social Security. 

Unfortunately, many future retirees overestimate how much their retirement checks are worth. To make sure you avoid this retirement planning mistake, here are the facts you need to know about the typical Social Security benefit available to seniors. 

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5 Most Common Questions About The Annual Increase in Social Security (COLA)

 

annual increase in social security

With inflation at multi-decade highs, the annual increase to Social Security’s has been a hot topic lately. With all the coverage this is receiving in the news, I’ve constantly been asked the same questions.  

The most common questions I receive are: 

  1. How is the annual increase in Social Security calculated?
  2. What happens if they switch to an alternate method (CPI-E)
  3. How is the annual increase applied to a Social Security benefit? 
  4. What age does the annual increase in Social Security start applying?
  5. Do you have to be receiving benefits to get the annual increase?

Let’s answer each of these questions individually…

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