News Light HD

Stay informed, stay ahead with

Opportunities Wealth Management

Increase Your Social Security Benefits with These Small Tricks

The federal government designed the social security program as a means of helping financially troubled Americans, a demographic that has continued to grow in the past couple of years.

It’s also a way to ensure that you and your family continue receiving some form of income even after you retire, making those years much easier for those that couldn’t create a nest egg large enough to last them the average 35 years people spend in retirement.

However you look at it, social security is an integral part of your retirement plan, and it should never be overlooked, no matter how insignificant you may feel it is.

However, you can increase the number of benefits you’ll receive by a margin by introducing some minor changes to your financial management, as these will depend greatly on when you actually start making your social security payments.

Keep reading to learn what you can do to make retirement easier for yourself and your spouse.

Minimize taxes

Originally, SSA retirement benefits were designed to be tax-free, but in the 1980s, the government introduced tax levies, meaning that anyone who receives more must also pay more in tax.

This way, anyone whose gross income, 50% of tax, and non-taxable income sum is greater than $25k, or $32k if you’re filing as a couple, will have 50% of their benefits taxed for up to half of the entire amount.

On top of this, if the aforementioned sum exceeds $34k or $44k for joint filers, these benefits can then be taxed for up to 85% of their value.

To offset this, Americans have figured out they can lower their adjusted gross income, which is usually done by converting your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA or reducing the distributions from the customary IRA you may have.

You could also choose to time selling those assets in a way that’ll be beneficial to the goal of lowering your gross income.

Full Retirement Age

When retire is also a determining factor when it comes to how many benefits you’ll be receiving, and the later you do it, the better off you’ll be.

The full retirement age for Americans has slowly been going up, although the only numbers to actually take note of are that for anyone born after 1960, the full retirement age is 67, whereas those born between 43′ and 54′ can retire at 66 with no issue.

A person’s FRA is what determines practically everything regarding their SSA benefits, and if you choose to retire before you’ve reached your calculated FRA, you could be losing out on up to 26% of the benefits you may have been entitled to.

The best way to deal with this is to simply remain in the workforce until you’ve reached full retirement age, and as dystopian as it may sound to have 67-year-old workers in companies, it’s the reality many Americans have to face.

Delay your claims and increase your income

On the other hand, if you choose to wait on your SSA benefits, they will only go up with time, and with enough time spent not receiving them, you could receive up to an 8% monthly increase to them.

Sometimes, you may have enough saved up even after you’ve retired to not have to dig into your SSA funds immediately, allowing this money to grow while you’re still able to rely on the money you worked so hard for.

At the end of the day, it’s a game of chance, as not everyone believes they’ll make it past 70, but if you do, it’s going to pay off immensely.

Another thing that guarantees increased benefits is earning more while you’re part of the workforce, as every contribution you make will count.

At times, even a side job or a freelancing opportunity may be enough to help your future self out, and while that’s not a commitment many can make, it’s one that you should at least take into consideration at some point in your life.

The SSA will use your highest-paying years to determine how much you’re entitled to when it comes to retirement benefits.

Bottom line

SSA retirement benefits are a crucial part of your financial security when you retire, and this is particularly true for low-income Americans who usually struggle in their retirement years.

However, with some clever planning and strategies, you could easily improve the circumstances you’re going to be facing come retirement, and the best part of it all is that it takes a minimal amount of effort to ensure you’re getting the most out of all those years you’ve spent working.

Essentially, the harder you’ve worked, the more your work will be appreciated, and if you chose not to jump the gun with SSA benefits, you can receive even more than you normally would have.