“With proper advice and planning, you can maximize your Social Security benefits and financial security during retirement.”
Some people start saving for their retirement the day they start their first job. They stay married to one person, and they never take money out of their retirement account or switch jobs. They pay off their mortgage and have no debt. Then there are the rest of us. After job changes, financial emergencies, family crises, and divorce finish their ugly handiwork, there may not be as much in your retirement account as you had hoped.
Social Security benefits make up at least half of the income of most elderly Americans. With this reality, here are the top 5 things you need to know about Social Security benefits.
Social Security pays way less than you might think. Although Social Security benefits are intended to replace about 40% of the wages you earned while working, this is only an average. In 2016, the average retired worker in America received $1,360.13 per month in Social Security benefits. That is just $16,321.56 a year. The 2017 poverty level is $11,880.00.
You can boost the amount of your monthly Social Security check. You have worked all your life and you want to have some fun while you still can. You plan to retire as early as possible, at age 62. Bad idea. If you retire at 62, you will only get an average of $12,110.60 a year instead of $16,321.56. If you hang in there until age 70, the average benefits will increase to $21,332,280 a year, because the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides an incentive of about 8% a year for delaying retirement. The incentive caps at age 70.
You may qualify for multiple government benefits programs. If you are eligible for Social Security retirement income, you might also qualify for other government programs, like Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, Medicare, Extra Help (assistance with Medicare premiums, co-pays, deductibles and prescription drugs). There are multiple state and federal agencies that are devoted to helping aging Americans meet their needs for housing, food, medical care, transportation and other essential services.
Social Security is not limited to retirement benefits. Nearly 30% of the benefits Social Security pays are to disabled workers and their dependents, and to survivors of deceased workers. More than 62 million Americans will get over $950 billion in Social Security benefits in 2017.
Most elderly Americans rely on Social Security for most of their income in retirement. Social Security accounts for about 50% of the income for almost half of all married retired couples. For half of all retired single people, the social security accounts for almost 90% of their monthly income.
The Golden Years can be a financially difficult. But, If you or your loved one was able to save and have assets, it is well worth the time and effort to have a proper Estate Plan prepared to protect you, your assets, and your family. Talk with an elder law attorney in your area.
Social Security Administration. “Fact Sheet: Social Security.” (accessed July 25, 2017) https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/basicfact-alt.pdf
Senior Living. “Helpful Resources for Seniors Surviving on Social Security.” (accessed July 25, 2017) http://www.seniorliving.org/retirement/resources-surviving-social-security/
The Motley Fool. “Here’s How Much the Average Senior Gets From Social Security Each Year.” (accessed July 25, 2017) https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/02/11/heres-how-much-the-average-senior-gets-from-social.aspx