When Should I Claim My Social Security Retirement Benefits?
The decision of when to retire and claim your Social Security Administration (SSA) retirement benefits is one that you must make based on personal considerations. Some factors you may consider are:
- Your genetic history, and life expectancy, could affect your retirement planning and when you begin collecting retirement benefits.
- Factors related to your spouse, like marriage, can affect how you view social security retirement benefits.
- The benefits of staggering your retirement benefits as a married couple strategically
- Whether you are able and willing to continue working longer could affect the amount of retirement benefits you will receive, and how much you must rely on SSA benefits to living a quality life.
Every individual and couple have unique considerations to weigh concerning retirement benefits. Knowing how to evaluate and when to claim retirement benefits could be the key to realizing the retirement you always wanted.
Understanding Eligibility for SSA Benefits
Before determining when you will claim your social security retirement benefits, you may want to know your options. For example, when is the earliest you can receive retirement benefits? Also, is there a maximum retirement age to receive SSA benefits? The Social Security Administration explains that you may begin collecting your SSA retirement benefits at the earliest age of 62 and age 70 at the latest.
The SSA also notes that not every person age 62 and older is eligible to collect SSA retirement benefits, as you must meet specific qualifications. You must earn a certain number of Social Security “credits” (typically 40) to be eligible for retirement benefits, and you accrue those credits by paying a certain amount of taxes into Social Security over the years of your professional life.
The first step that your retirement planning consultant or wealth management advisor may take is determining whether you are eligible to receive SSA benefits. If you are, they can further discuss a strategy for claiming your retirement benefits.
Determining When to Claim Your Retirement Benefits
The Social Security Administration discusses several points for you and your wealth management advisor to consider when claiming SSA benefits. Some of the questions it poses include:
- Whether you find it more desirable to receive smaller monthly retirement payments for a longer period or larger payments for a shorter period.
- What your family’s history is with respect to health and longevity
- What your current financial needs are
- Whether you are currently working, plan to resume working, or are unable or unwilling to work ever again
- What your future financial obligations are
- What your other sources of income will be during retirement, as Social Security benefits will not be, in an ideal situation, your only source of retirement income
A wealth management advisor can break down these and other relevant retirement planning questions on an individualized basis. Keep in mind, that each consideration is worth exploring in detail, and this may only be possible if an advisor well-versed in the process of claiming social security retirement benefits can review your circumstances.
A Wealth Management Advisor Can Help
Social Security retirement benefits are a complex matter, and it can be vital that you fully understand and take advantage of the nuances of claiming SSA benefits. Unless you have dedicated your professional life to understanding the ins and outs of retirement benefits, Roth IRA vs regular 401k, and other aspects of retirement, hiring a retirement planning professional could be immensely helpful.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) explains that:
- 97% of eligible Americans collect Social Security retirement benefits
- Social Security retirement benefits are progressive, meaning that the compensation you receive may depend on your lifetime earnings
- Social Security benefits may be modest, but they may also be a critical component of your retirement planning
Claiming your SSA retirement benefits at the wrong time (either too early or too late) could have several consequences, and this may lead to you having too little retirement benefits at an age where you are no longer able to work, or it could cause you to leave unclaimed retirement benefits on the table.
Sitting down with a financial advisor and retirement planning professional could help you devise a strategic approach to claiming social security retirement benefits. Such a financial advisor may:
- Speak with you about retirement strategies specific to married couples, which may include claiming benefits at different periods to ensure each partner receives maximum financial protection in the event of the other partner’s death
- Go over your retirement planning with you, explaining the implications of your earnings in terms of SSA benefits
- Work to understand what goals you have for retirement and how your goals should affect when you claim SSA benefits
- Devise a retirement plan and make it straightforward for you when to retire based on your specific case.
Having the guidance of a financial advisor familiar with SSA benefits in Scottsdale and Prescott could be a great relief to you and your loved one.
Call Hosler Wealth Management, LLC, Today
Retirement can be a source of uncertainty, but it does not have to be. Proper retirement planning and a strategic approach could give you greater peace of mind and may help you maximize your social security benefits.
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