By Joe Delaney
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has recently added some new features that we believe warrant a look from you.
If you have not reviewed your SSA account online, you should. Make it a practice to review it annually. That opportunity is even larger with the enhanced statements they provide now. The enhanced statements visually show the effects of starting benefits between age 62 and 70.
Research has shown that people who see their statement tend to make better retirement choices, according to Jeffrey Levine, Chief Planning Officer at Buckingham Wealth Partners.
There are 5 things people can do now with their Social Security statements. They are:
1. Take advantage of the enhanced statement's standout feature.
The new version of the statements provides a really easy graphical way of showing you, right on the front page, what your benefit will be by delaying taking your retirement benefits. Delaying your benefits adds approximately 8% every year up to age 70. I like to call this longevity insurance. Waiting to age 70 to take your benefits is our standard recommendation unless you have medical concerns that might encourage you to take your benefits earlier.
2. Understand the amount you will receive and how it will fit into your overall retirement plan.
Understand your retirement income sources including social security. Will you have enough to retire on? Do you need to work longer or can you retire sooner? If you don't know the answers to these questions, reach out to us at Lifeguard Wealth and we are happy to assist you with creating a comprehensive retirement plan.
3. Make sure you are reviewing your statements for errors.
You want to review your statements and earnings history for accuracy. Again, you should be checking your SSA account annually.
4. Be sure to create your SSA online account.
The SSA no longer sends you statements in the mail. That practice stopped in 2011. You should go to www.ssa.gov and register online. 2-factor authentication is required to access your account online.
5. Be sure to understand that Medicare costs come out of your monthly Social Security benefits.
This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of Social Security and Medicare benefits. Most people don't understand that Medicare gets paid out of your social security benefits.
Social Security benefits are a meaningful source of retirement income. Take a few minutes to set up your online account and be sure to review your SSA account annually to make sure everything is in good order. And remember when considering when to start taking your benefits, we believe, in most cases, it makes sense to delay your benefits until age 70!
The opinions expressed by myself and other featured authors are their own and may not accurately reflect those of Lifeguard Wealth. This article is for general information only and is not intended to serve as specific financial, accounting or tax advice.
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