For many of us, Social Security will comprise an important part of our retirement income. But even though the program is accessed by nearly everyone, the process is not exactly simple. You will encounter opportunities to make mistakes along the way. Since we want you to be able to earn the most benefit possible for you, we urge you to ask yourself these questions before jumping the gun on Social Security.
How many work credits have you accumulated? Contrary to common belief, Social Security is not necessarily available to everyone. You must accumulate a certain number of work credits (40) before you’re eligible for benefits. For most of us, earning 40 credits over our lifetimes is not overly difficult (you can earn four per year), but over the years Social Security has changed the way they defined credits. So, it’s best to check with them, just to be sure. Ask how many work credits you have earned.
Get a copy of your earnings record. While you’re on the phone or in a meeting to check on your work credits, ask for a copy of your earnings record, too. Social Security can and has made mistakes on these records at times. Your benefits checks will be calculated according to your 35 highest-earning years, so you want to be sure your earnings were accurately recorded.
Determine your “full retirement age”. Your full retirement age is based upon your date of birth, and retirement ages have been adjusted throughout the years. Check with the Social Security Administration to be certain of your full retirement age, because this is the age at which you can access full benefits. If you retire before that age, your checks will be permanently reduced.
Ask about spousal benefits. If you’ve ever been married for at least ten years, you might be eligible for spousal benefits. This is important information to learn, because sometimes the spousal benefit can be greater than your own. Make sure you understand your options so you can opt for the larger monthly check.
Make sure you understand taxes on Social Security benefits. Many a retiree has found themselves surprised by taxes after retirement! In some cases Social Security benefits can be taxed.
We can help you investigate these issues. Give us a call, we can help you address these important questions. Then, you can retire feeling confident about what comes next.
Advisory services are offered by Capital Appreciation, Inc. dba Asset Protection Group a Registered Investment Advisor in the State of Florida. Insurance products and services are offered through Insurance Planning Services of Miami, Inc. dba Asset Protection Group. Capital Appreciation, Inc. and Insurance Planning Services of Miami, Inc. are affiliated companies. Asset Protection Group and Insurance Planning Services of Miami, Inc. are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.