According to a recent report, almost half of Americans cite running out of money as their top retirement concern. So how can you ensure a financially stable retirement?
If retirement is in your near future, you’re probably looking forward to cashing in on your social security benefits. But don’t let common mistakes cost you. The first: not knowing your full retirement age. The earliest you can claim is 62, but you could miss out on up to 30 percent of your benefits. The latest you can claim is 70. The social security administration’s web site offers an age calculator to help you figure it out.
Another mistake: not knowing your earnings limit. You can still work while you receive social security, but you can't make more than the yearly maximum. For example, you can't earn more than $17,640 if you’re an “under full age” recipient. If you do, you’ll have to repay some of your benefits.
If you’re married, don’t make the mistake of not claiming a spousal benefit if you qualify. Many couples miss out on thousands by not doing this. Another mistake: thinking you can stop and start your benefits. If you change your mind about claiming within 12 months of the first filing, you can repay your benefits and reset yourself. But you can’t simply stop and choose to start them again later.
And the last mistake: not working with an expert. For many couples, social security will provide over one million dollars in benefits. A financial advisor can help you make the best investment decisions for your future.
Social security benefits are designed to replace about 40 percent of your pre-retirement income. But, nearly half of single beneficiaries and one in five married couples depend on social security for at least 90 percent of their income.