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May 23rd, 2018 by

social security benefits

When did you last review your social security benefits?

Your Social Security Statement provides important information about your Social Security record and future benefits, including a projection of your retirement benefits at age 62, full retirement age, and age 70; projections of disability and survivor benefits; a detailed record of your earnings; and other information about the Social Security program.

To save money, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has stopped mailing Social Security Statements to individuals under age 60. Workers age 60 and older who aren’t receiving Social Security benefits will still receive paper statements. However, you can opt to sign up for online statements instead. If you’re age 60 or older, you should receive your statement every year, about three months before your birthday.

Finding Out What You Have

social security

If you’re under age 60, you can request a paper statement in the mail. However, the quickest way to get a copy of your Social Security Statement is to sign up for a “My Social Security” account on the SSA website, ssa.gov. After signing up, you’ll have immediate access to your statement, which you can view, download, or print.

The SSA has recently started to use a two-step identification method to help protect “My Social Security” accounts from unauthorized use and potential identity fraud. You will be prompted to add either your cell phone number or email address as a second identification method. Every time you enter your account username and password, you will then be prompted to request a unique security code via the identification method you’ve chosen, and you will need to enter that code to complete the log-in process.

Get The Most From Your Social Security Benefits!

Social Security is a big part of your retirement planning. Let me show you how to get the most from it. Contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. Contact me 1-833-313-7233.

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March 28th, 2018 by

There are a number of good reasons why you may want to work part-time during retirement. Obviously, you would be earning money and relying less on your retirement savings. You may also have access to better health-care benefits. Finally, many retirees work for personal fulfillment. They enjoy staying mentally and physically active. Plus, they enjoy the social benefits of working in retirement. Some retirees just want to try their hand at something new & they aren’t ready to retire.

Others who are thinking about retirement aren’t’ ready to give up their day jobs just yet. In 2013, a phased retirement plan was introduced in some workplaces to help potential retirees ease into retirement more easily. It’s when a company allows an aging employee to “officially retire”, but keeps the employee on the payroll with the ability to scale back their number of work hours or become more selective on which projects they take on.

Earning a paycheck may enable you to postpone claiming Social Security until a later date. For each year you delay taking your Social Security benefits (from full retirement age to age 70), the annual benefit grows automatically by 8%.

Here are two more ways working in retirement could affect your Social Security benefits.

1. The Retirement Earnings Test

If you are working in retirement and receiving Social Security benefits prior to reaching full retirement age (FRA), $1 in benefits will be deducted for every $2 you earn above the annual limit ($17,040 in 2018). During the calendar year in which you reach FRA, $1 will be deducted for every $3 you earn above a higher annual limit ($45,360 in 2018), but only until the month you reach full retirement age. Fortunately, you won’t lose these benefits forever. Once you reach FRA, your lifetime benefit will increase to account for the loss amount.

2. Taxes on Benefits

If you have substantial income (such as wages or other taxable income), a portion of your Social Security benefits may be taxable. You may owe federal income tax on up to 50% of your benefits if your combined income exceeds a “base amount” of $25,000 ($32,000 for joint filers). And if your combined income exceeds a higher base amount of $34,000 ($44,000 for joint filers), you may owe tax on up to 85% of your Social Security benefits.

One size DOES NOT fit all.

Your retirement options should be in under your control. Let me show you how to get the most from your retirement planning. Contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. Contact me 1-833-313-7233.

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October 16th, 2017 by

In 2017, Americans born in 1955 become eligible to claim Social Security benefits at age 62.

Claiming benefits before reaching full retirement age results in a permanently reduced benefit, so it requires careful consideration. But for those born in 1955 or later, the math for claiming is different than for older age groups.

The shift dates back to the Social Security Amendments of 1983. This shift made changes to strengthen the program by gradually increasing the full retirement age (FRA) from 65 to 67. The first phase of this increase resulted in a FRA of 66 for those born in 1946 to 1954. For those born in 1955, FRA is 66 and two months. Each additional birth year adds two months. For those born in  1960 or later, 67 is the full retirement age (see chart).

Social Security Claiming Age 2017: early or late?

The minimum and maximum Social Security Claiming Age 2017 remain at 62 and 70, respectively. However, because Social Security benefit calculations are based on full retirement age, the change affects the benefits paid at all claiming ages before or after full retirement age.

For example, whereas someone born between 1946 and 1954 who filed at age 62 would have received 75% of the full benefit, someone born in 1955 would receive only 74.17% of the full benefit at age 62. This percentage will be reduced gradually until it reaches 70% for those born in 1960 or later.

Delayed retirement credits for working past full retirement age will remain the same, increasing the benefit by 8% each year. However, as FRA increases, the amount of time to earn credits will decrease. Someone with a full retirement age of 66 could earn four years of credits before claiming at age 70, and would potentially receive a benefit equivalent to 132% of the full benefit amount. However, someone born with a full retirement age of 67 would have only three years between FRA and age 70, so the maximum benefit would be 124% of the full benefit amount.

Social Security rules are complex, so be sure to research your options before making a decision on when to claim benefits. See https://www.ssa.gov for further information.

Your Social Security claiming age is important.

Let me show you how to get the most from your retirement planning. Contact me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office in Upper Marlboro, MD. Contact me  1-833-313-7233.

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May 23rd, 2017 by

social security

Sixty-two percent of retirees report that Social Security is a major source of retirement income. By contrast, only 35% of workers expect the program to be a major source of income for them in retirement.1

Social Security was never intended to be a retiree’s sole source of retirement income, so lower expectations are realistic and could inspire you to save more in your retirement accounts. But low expectations also reflect concern about the future of the program. Only 10% of workers are “very confident” that Social Security will continue to provide benefits equal to those provided to current retirees.2

Many ideas have been suggested to address Social Security’s fiscal challenges. Here are some commonly cited solutions, with estimates of their impact from the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration.3

Eliminate or increase the earnings cap. Workers pay Social Security taxes on income up to an inflation-adjusted cap ($127,200 in 2017). Eliminating the cap in 2017 and later years would address 89% of the Social Security shortfall if benefits were not increased for high earners (72% if benefits were increased). Increasing rather than eliminating the cap would have a significant but smaller effect.

Increase the payroll tax. Workers currently pay 6.2% of earnings (up to the earnings cap) into the Social Security system, with employers matching that amount. Increasing the payroll tax to 7.6% for both workers and employers in 2017 and later years would completely eliminate the shortfall.

Raise the full retirement age. The current age to claim full Social Security retirement benefits is 66 for individuals born between 1943 and 1954; full retirement age increases gradually to 67 for those born in 1960 and later. Raising the full retirement age to 69 by 2034, with small increases thereafter, would eliminate 40% of the funding shortfall.

Sources
1–2) Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2016
3) Social Security Administration, 2016

Retirement Planning Adds To Social Security Benefits

You can become anxious when you have to deal with your retirement planning alone. So, let me help you figure out how much Social Security you can expect. Moreover, I can advise you on how to create a retirement where you don’t have to only rely on Social Security.
Let’s meet for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office.
Call  1-833-313-7233.

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September 17th, 2015 by
CNBC Sharon Epperson - Social Security Benefits

Sharon Epperson shares tips for women to take advantage of Social Security Benefits. CLICK THIS IMAGE to view the full video.

 

Women Can Boost Their Income Later in Life

A woman who holds off on collecting Social Security after her full retirement age will receive delayed retirement credits that will boost her benefit as much as 8 percent for every year she waits until age 70. In other words, a woman whose full retirement age is 66 would receive a benefit reduced by as much as 30 percent if she retired at 62, but if she waited until age 70, it could increase by as much as 32 percent.

 

In addition, women who have been divorced after at least 10 years of marriage may have another way to boost their Social Security benefit: by using their ex-spouse’s benefit. The Social Security office can even tell you what the amount is. You don’t even have to go to him. Women divorced after 10 or more years of marriage are eligible for a benefit equal to half of the ex-spouse’s. So, if the benefit of half of the ex-spouse’s amount exceeds what you (as a woman) stands to receive on your own, that option is available to you.

Read the full article for more Social Security Benefit tips for women.
Source:
Kelley Holland – NBC News – Aug 11, 2015
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/retirement/biggest-mistake-women-make-social-security-benefits-n407816

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There is expert guidance available to you for your retirement planning goals.

Meet me for a FREE retirement strategy consultation at my office at 833-313-7233 | MD, VA & DC.