Turning 66 in 2019? That means the maximum Social Security
benefit you could receive is $2,861.
That’s no small sum! If you wanted to get that same amount
of income from a portfolio of retirement savings you’d need A LOT of money at
the beginning of your retirement.
And it could get even better for you if you waited to file
for Social Security. In 2019, the maximum benefit for an individual who delayed
filing for benefits until age 70 is $3,770 per month. That’s more than $45,000
per year in benefits!
What’s one of the most generous benefits available to retirees? That’s easy. It’s Social Security spousal benefits! These benefits are some of the most important, too.
Why? Because the spousal benefit can give your household income a big boost if you know all the rules about how to use it.
A recent Social Security report found that 2.3 million individuals received at least part of their benefit as a spouse of an entitled worker. Some of these spouses had benefits of their own, but were eligible to receive higher benefit because the spousal benefit amount was greater than their own benefit.
Others never worked outside the home or paid Social Security tax. They have no benefit of their own, but thanks to the Social Security spousal benefit available under their spouse’s work record, they can still receive payments.
This particular benefit doesn’t just provide retirement income, either.
As an eligible spouse, you could also receive premium-free Medicare benefits. Receiving these can help you reduce your out-of-pocket healthcare costs, allowing you to stretch your nest egg even further to create the retirement you want.
Clearly, Social Security spousal benefits offer serious value to those approaching the right age to file. So how do you access them, and what do you have to know to best work the rules?
Let’s take a look at what it takes to qualify as well as what benefits you may receive as an eligible spouse.
If you’re building a retirement income plan (and I hope you
are!), Social Security will likely play a role. As such, you need to know what
to expect in Social Security benefits when constructing your plan to ensure it
Unfortunately, your Social Security benefits estimate from the statements you can pull from the Social Security Administration is not the best source of information on what to expect in the future.
The issue lies with the omissions that the Administration
makes with their estimate methodology. To understand why this is a problem, we
need to start with a basic overview of the calculation used to create your
Social Security benefit estimate.
You may already know
that if you’re under full retirement age and file for Social Security benefits,
there’s a limit to the amount of income you can make before your benefit is
reduced — or shut off completely.
But there’s one big
question that keeps coming up when I talk to people about this topic: What
counts as income?
system as complex as Social Security, it’s
inevitable that misinformation (or simply a misunderstanding of the facts) will
spread. It’s hard to understand what’s true and what’s not, and often, our
brains prefer the version of events that feel intuitively more simple to
course, Social Security is anything but
simple to understand.
If you’re retiring early for health reasons, do you know
what benefit to file for when you claim Social Security?
Most people don’t, and simply assume they just need to file
for retirement benefits. But if you could receive disability benefits instead,
choosing to file normally could cause you to miss out on a lot of money.
The Social Security Administration will not be the same in
10 years. They have a plan that is rapidly unfolding and some of this is
detailed in their “Vision 2025” strategic plan.
You might have heard a little about this already. The
Administration has a webpage devoted to it — but to really get into the meat
of what the Social Security Administration plans to do next, you have to dive
into the supporting studies.
Let’s take a look together in this article. I’ll help you
cover the entire spectrum of what the Social Security Administration (or SSA)
has in the works… and what I see as the biggest challenge to getting this off
Most of us spend a lot of time figuring out how
to maximize the benefits we can receive from Social Security. After all, when
we’re talking about retirement, every extra income stream and every dollar
makes a difference.
So it might sound strange at first to talk about
how to stop your Social Security
benefits from coming in. But in some situations, there are a number of reasons
why stopping your Social
Security benefit is the right thing to do.
There’s a right way to do this, and a wrong way
— and you need to know the difference so you can understand when it makes
sense to turn off Social Security benefits, and how to do it correctly so that
action doesn’t come back to bite you down the road.
There are a few mistakes you can make with your Medicare
benefits that seem small, but actually carry some big, nasty consequences.
I’m talking about the kind of consequences that can cost you
thousands of dollars. That’s a lot of money that you could have on the line —
and the confusing Medicare system doesn’t make it any easier to avoid big
Medicare is full of confusing language, plans that seem awfully similar,
a lot of different deadlines, and more than a few hidden costs that can take
you (and your budget) by surprise.
I’ve seen more than a few people make these specific Medicare mistakes, and I want to help you avoid becoming just another one of many. Here’s what I see most often — and how you can avoid making these same errors.