Know Your Social Security Benefits

by Tony Sagami
By Tony Sagami

I have officially hit the “full retirement age” for Social Security, which is 66 years and four months for somebody born in 1956.

If you were born in 1960 or later, you will have to wait until you turn 67. However, you can always elect to start collecting as early as 62, but your monthly Social Security check will be reduced by a whopping 30%.

Social Security benefits at age 62.
Click here to see full-sized image.

 

For example, if you start collecting Social Security at full retirement age in 2023, the maximum benefit is $3,627 a month. However, if you retire at age 62 in 2023, your maximum benefit would be reduced to $2,572.

That’s $1,055 less each and every month until the day that you die!

Conversely, if you can postpone collecting a Social Security check, you will receive an extra 8% per year. In my case, I plan on waiting until I hit 70 and that would goose my Social Security check to $4,555 — an extra $928 per month.

Retirees can get income from a number of sources in addition to Social Security; pension payments, investments, rental income and/or ongoing work.

I, for example, plan on working until the day I die.

No matter what your plans are, you need to be smart about your Social Security benefits because it is …

A crucial Income Source
for Millions of Americans

Among seniors, 37% of men and 42% of women receive 50% or more of their income from Social Security. And the average monthly Social Security benefit for retired workers today is $1,827 a month.

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t comfortably survive on $1,827 a month … and that’s with my house and cars paid off, so I don’t owe a dime of debt to anybody.

Worse yet, the Social Security Administration reports that 12% of retired men and 15% of retired women rely on Social Security for 90%+ of their income.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household expenses for a retired American is $48,872.

It’s quite clear that you have to build up a nest egg if you want to retire comfortably. But sadly, only a small percentage of Americans have saved up $100,000 or more for retirement.

Only 14% of Americans have $100,000 or more saved in their retirement accounts. In fact, about 78% of Americans have $50,000 or less saved for retirement.

Here’s how many Americans have more than $100,000 saved for retirement (by age):

•  Age 18-24: 2.1%

•  Age 25-34: 4%

•  Age 35-44: 11.5%

•  Age 45-54: 11.4%

•  Age 55-64: 26.4%

•  Age 65 and over: 36%

Even worse, 37% of Americans haven’t saved anything at all. Zero! Zilch! Nada!

Yes, I am intentionally trying to paint a frightening picture. You must contribute to a 401(k), IRA or other form of retirement savings.

It’s crucial to save aggressively right now because your future depends on it. And lastly, make sure you know your Social Security benefits, so that you can get the most out of them when you reach the age of retirement.

For one thing, you should consider delaying collecting Social Security for as long as you can for a higher monthly benefit, and if you’re able to, consider working past the traditional retirement age of 65.

Retirement isn’t for financial sissies, so make sure you don’t fall under that category. Smarten up and save up!

That’s all for today. I’ll be back with more for you soon.

All the best,

Tony

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About the Technology Analyst

Even in the worst years for stocks, Tony was twice named “Portfolio Manager of the Year” by Thomson Financial. He was one of the first to introduce computer software for trading stocks. And in the early 2000s, he wrote “The Supernet,” providing a vision of the future internet that was far ahead of its time.

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