Maxxing Out Your Social Security Benefits

Don’t underestimate the lifetime value of Social Security benefits, which can total $900,000 for a couple over time.

You’ve probably heard us mention that, for most people, Social Security benefits are a very important part of your retirement income.

Most people underestimate what those monthly guaranteed payments are actually worth.

One recent estimate put the lifetime value of his-and-her benefits, where both members of a couple receive Social Security benefits, at over $900,000.

We often urge clients to delay their benefits so they can maximize their lifetime retirement inflows. That’s because the longer you wait to start benefits, the higher your monthly payment. The government actually pays you to wait.

In fact, at age 70, you’ll get 132 percent of your full retirement monthly benefit because you delayed getting benefits for 48 months.

But there is one small detail you should know about. Most people can take benefits as early as age 62. Each year they delay, the benefit increases. But there is no benefit to delaying past age 70.

That’s right. Those annual increases for waiting (called delayed retirement credits) end at age 70, so there is no additional value to delaying benefits past that age.

The Takeaway: If you have reached age 70, make sure to claim benefits. Do not wait any longer. You’re just leaving money on the table.

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!


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