Retirement Answer Man

Welcome to the final episode of the Maximizing Social Security series. In this episode, we get down to business. When do you file? How do you make this decision? If you are wondering these things then you need to listen to this episode. During the Practical Planning segment, I welcome social security guru, Devin Carroll. He has been studying social security for years and even has a book dedicated to learning the basics of social security. You won’t want to miss this final episode which answers your big questions about social security: when to file, when to relax, and when to panic. Listen now help you discover your best social security strategy.

How do you make the decision of when to file for social security?

The big question is when do you file for social security. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. There are many things to consider, but ultimately you need to think about what your ultimate goal is. It’s not just math. What is your confidence level in your retirement? Taking full retirement social security benefits can give you more confidence in retirement. Understand what it is that you are trying to accomplish when considering whether to file early or wait until full retirement age. When you factor in your big picture then when to file could be a game changer. Listen to this episode to help you understand this multidimensional issue and help you rock your retirement.

What are some things to consider when trying to decide the best time to file for social security?

There are many factors to consider when trying to decide the best age to file for social security benefits. Some considerations are: will you have additional income? How is your health? How is your spouse’s health? What is the age difference between spouses? Do you really need the money? There are also tax implications to consider. If you fall into a certain income class then you could be taxed on 85% of your social security benefits. This could really affect your taxes and your IRAs. Before you decide when to file for your social security benefits, be sure to consider all of these questions. Listen to this episode to get a boost in your social security education.

In what situation would it be smart to file for social security benefits as early as possible?

You can file for social security benefits as early as age 62. You will not receive your full retirement benefits at this age, but there are some situations where this may still be a good choice. One mistake some people make is that they file for their social security benefits rather than disability if they can’t keep working due to a disability. If a disability is keeping you from working, be sure to file for disability benefits instead. If you really need an income, then filing at age 62 is a smart choice. Listen to this episode to hear all the reasons that you may consider filing for social security as early as possible.

How does retiring while in your peak earnings years impact your social security benefit?

Many people want to retire early. But does retiring while you are in your peak earning years impact how much you will receive for your social security benefit? Most of us still have 35 years of work history behind us by the time we are considering taking an early retirement, but these years often include low wage jobs. Retiring early can impact your social security benefit. But unfortunately, there is not a good way to estimate how it would affect your benefits. Devin would love to create a calculator to help others estimate the difference in benefits to help others. Listen to this episode to hear how your benefits could be affected by retiring early.

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE RETIREMENT ANSWER MAN

HOT TOPIC SEGMENT

  • [2:32] How to make this decision for you?
  • [7:18] What are some things to consider?

PRACTICAL PLANNING SEGMENT

  • [8:28] How does Devin Carroll help people choose social security strategies?
  • [11:00] What situation would it be smart to file as early as possible?
  • [15:39] How do you navigate who takes what benefit when in a spousal situation?
  • [17:34] There are some uninformed reasons to file early
  • [19:08] Survivor benefits
  • [27:04] How does retiring while in your peak earnings years impact your social security benefit?

THE HAPPY LAB SEGMENT

  • [31:22] Nichole is reading Oola For Women

TODAY’S SMART SPRINT SEGMENT

  • [32:55] Send us a question that you want to be answered

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Devin’s website: Social Security Intelligence

BOOK - Social Security Basics by Devin Carroll

Devin Carroll’s podcast - Big Picture Retirement

BOOK - Oola For Womenby Dave Braun

Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That

BOOK - Rock Retirement  by Roger Whitney

Ask Roger a question

Work with Roger

3-video Series: 5 Minute Retirement Makeover

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center

The Retirement Answer Man Facebook Page

Direct download: RAM231.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CST

This month on Retirement Answer Man we are maximizing social security benefits. All month long we are discussing the ins and outs of social security. The government doesn’t make anything simple, and social security is no different. So be sure to catch the entire series, beginning with episode 228 to fully understand the complexities of social security and how to maximize your benefits. This episode is dedicated to learning how earning income during retirement can impact your social security benefit amount. Listen to this episode to help you learn how to maximize your social security benefit and rock retirement.

This feature of social security is underappreciated

Did you know that social security is adjusted for cost of living? This added benefit was added in 1975. Each year social security is increased by COLA or cost of living adjustment. Since 1975 the average COLA increase has been 3.9%. This sounds awesome, right? The past 20 years the inflation increase has only averaged 2.1%, and in the past 10 years, we have only seen an increase of 1.7%. Well, at least it’s something! Listen to this episode of the Maximizing Social Security series to learn more about your social security benefit.

What happens if you take social security prior to your full retirement age?

Not everyone wants to work until the full retirement age of 66. The goal for many of us is to retire early. If you decide to retire early and take social security benefits starting at 62 or any time before age 66 you will receive less than the full retirement amount. Another penalty that you will incur is that if you earn over $17,040 your benefit will be reduced by one dollar for every 2 that you make over that amount. The government will eventually make it up to you over time, but of course, it will be rather complicated and paid out over 15 years. Listen to this episode to help you understand the social security complexities of taking early retirement.

If you work until full retirement age you could get the best of both worlds

Ideally, social security is not to be drawn until the full retirement age of 66. You will receive a higher benefit and you can earn as much as you want without a benefit reduction. This is why I am a huge proponent of pretirement. Taking on some sort of pretirement work like consulting, part-time work, or starting your own business offers an alternative to taking your retirement early and reducing your benefits. Are you ready to rock retirement? If so, listen to this episode to begin maximizing social security benefits.

What happens to your social security after full retirement age?

Although you receive your full benefit amount at age 66 this doesn’t mean that it’s all yours free and clear. Part of your benefit is taxable if you earn over certain amounts. For example, if you earn between $25-34,000 you will be taxed on half of your social security benefit. If you earn more than $34,000 then you will be taxed on 85% of your social security check. Each situation is different, so that is why it is so important to use more than simply numbers to decide when you want to start rocking your retirement. Start your social security education today by listening to this episode of Retirement Answer Man.

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE RETIREMENT ANSWER MAN

HOT TOPIC SEGMENT

  • [2:17] This is a feature of social security that most don’t think about
  • [6:46] How is cola calculated?

PRACTICAL PLANNING SEGMENT

  • [10:05] What happens if you take social security prior to your full retirement age?
  • [14:55] If you work until full retirement you could get the best of both worlds
  • [15:30] What happens to social security benefits after full retirement age?

THE HAPPY LAB SEGMENT

  • [19:40] Go get a little kookie

TODAY’S SMART SPRINT SEGMENT

  • [21:14] Evaluate what type of income you may earn from age 62 on

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Social Security Administration website

Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That

BOOK - Rock Retirement  by Roger Whitney

Ask Roger a question

Work with Roger

3-video Series: 5 Minute Retirement Makeover

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center

The Retirement Answer Man Facebook Page

Direct download: RAM230.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CST

Social security is an important part of retirement even if you have plenty of assets. That is why we are dedicating the whole month to learn how to maximize your social security benefits. This is the second episode in the four-episode series in which we discuss the best social security benefits calculators. This may not be the most exciting topic, but it is important to learn how to get the most out of your social security benefits. Listen to this episode to hear how to find the best social security calculators as well as how to use them.

How to protect your social security

Protecting your social security number is so important to keeping your identity and benefits safe. 158 million people had their social security number exposed just last year. That’s half the population of the country! There are a few protective measures that you can take to guard your social security number. You don’t need to carry your social security card with you at all times since it can easily get stolen. Instead, leave it at home in a safe place. Some organizations like medical offices ask for your social security number but don’t actually need it. You don’t have to give it to them. Listen to this episode to hear more tips on how to keep your social security number safe.

How to calculate your benefits

The social security administration is a great resource you can use to calculate your benefits. They send you a yearly statement with your lifetime earnings as well as a projected benefit amount. The important thing to remember is that the benefit amount they use assumes that you will continue to earn the same amount that you are earning right now all the way until you reach full retirement age. So if you plan on retiring early or taking a pretirement phase where you are not earning much then that number will change. Listen to this episode to hear how you can calculate your benefits if you plan to retire early or enjoy pretirement.

If you download your statement make sure to encrypt it

You can download your social security statement to your computer by going to the social security administration’s website. If you choose to do so, it is important to protect the file. Your social security statement is a treasure trove of information. It has such goodies as your name, address, the last four digits of your social security number, and your earnings from an entire lifetime. If you have your statement downloaded on your computer it is important to password protect the file to avoid all of that information being stolen by hackers. Learn how to password protect it on a Mac by listening to this episode.

What kinds of calculators should you use?

Ssa.gov has benefits calculators that can help you estimate your benefits based on your earnings. If you are going into pretirement or plan on retiring before full retirement age you will want to use their detailed calculator. This will give you the most precise estimate of what your benefits will be. You actually have to download the calculator onto your computer which brings another layer of complexity to things as only the government can do. The detailed calculator can help you decide when would be best for you to retire. There are several other calculators both on the social security administration website as well as through private organizations. Listen to this episode to hear which calculators you should use to help you understand when the ideal time to retire will be for you.

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE RETIREMENT ANSWER MAN

HOT TOPIC SEGMENT

  • [2:52] Protecting your social security number so important

PRACTICAL PLANNING SEGMENT

  • [11:04] How to calculate your benefits
  • [15:08] If you download your statement password protect it
  • [16:22] What kinds of calculators should you use?
  • [19:56] A lot of financial planning is about maximizing the numbers
  • [23:55] What are some other websites that can help calculate your social security benefits?

THE HAPPY LAB SEGMENT

  • [26:13] Hobbies can make you happy

TODAY’S SMART SPRINT SEGMENT

  • [29:22] Check out one of the social security calculators or make time for your hobby

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That

BOOK - Rock Retirement  by Roger Whitney

Ask Roger a question

Work with Roger

3-video Series: 5 Minute Retirement Makeover

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center

The Retirement Answer Man Facebook Page

Direct download: RAM229.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:21pm CST

The Retirement Answer Man theme for July is how to maximize social security. On this episode, we’re covering the basics: how it works, and are social security benefits even going to be there when you retire? This can be a bit of a dense subject, but I will do my best to make the topic as fun and interesting as possible. You may think that social security won’t play a very big role in your retirement if you have a lot of assets, but after listening to this series you’ll see that social security is more important to your retirement than you think. Get started with your research on social security by listening to this episode today.

What are the benefits of social security?

Even if you have plenty of assets, social security benefits are an important part of retirement. As with any benefit you need to learn how to maximize it to its fullest. There are different branches of benefits through the social security system; disability benefits, dependent benefits, and survivor benefits. The one we think the most about though, is retirement benefits. You pay into the system year after year and can begin to receive the benefits at age 62. Social security is a fantastic resource that helps many retire with dignity. You need to learn how to get the most out of it and can start learning as much as you can by listening to this episode of Retirement Answer Man.

Will social security be there when you need it?

Social security is 90% of income for about a third of American retirees, and for 50% of retirees, it consists of half of their income. So it is scary to think that this benefit could be exhausted as soon as 2022. Fortunately, according to the social security administration website, the fund will not completely disappear at this time. It will only cover about 75% of what it needs to, but it will not totally vanish. The reason there is a problem with funding is that there are more baby boomers retiring and receiving benefits than there are people contributing to the system. Listen to this episode to find out if you need to worry about vanishing social security and how that could affect your retirement plans.

How to fix social security

Since there is a maximum amount that you can receive, social security is a bit of a redistribution system. It is a highly politicized topic, but if it is to continue, a solution must be found to funding social security in the future. There are several ways that we could continue to fund social security in the years to come. Being that it is a significant income source for many retirees, finding a solution is important. Some ways to solve the funding issue are by increasing social security taxes on incomes, eliminating the maximum deposit, reducing benefits, modifying the cost of living adjustments, raising the retirement age, and closing loopholes. Listen to this episode to hear about the many different ways that we could easily help fund social security in the future.

How are benefits calculated?

How do you qualify for social security benefits? Social Security is earned over a 35-year work history. You earn credits each quarter and you need 40 quarters of wages to qualify to receive benefits. The amount you receive is determined by your work and earnings history. If you retire before retirement age the amount calculated will add zeros to your average. This will bring down your average earnings and reduce your benefits. The way they average the amount earned is called the AIME: or average indexed monthly earnings amount. It is important to consider your AIME if you are planning to retire early. Listen to this episode to hear how to download your latest social security statement and check your earnings record so that you can begin to calculate your estimated benefit amount.

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE RETIREMENT ANSWER MAN

HOT TOPIC SEGMENT

  • [2:25] What are the basics of social security?
  • [5:54] Will social security be there when you need it?
  • [7:33] How to fix the social security problem

PRACTICAL PLANNING SEGMENT

  • [11:11] How are benefits calculated?
  • [16:05] What is the eligibility for spousal benefits?

THE HAPPY LAB SEGMENT

  • [18:38] The next time that someone slights you, respond with grace

TODAY’S SMART SPRINT SEGMENT

  • [20:15] Go to my YouTube channel and subscribe to find some fun bits of retirement wisdom and info

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Social Security Administration Website

Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That

BOOK - Rock Retirement  by Roger Whitney

Ask Roger a question

Work with Roger

3-video Series: 5 Minute Retirement Makeover

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center

The Retirement Answer Man Facebook Page

Direct download: RAM228.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CST

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