There may come a time in your life when Social Security becomes your primary source of income. And even if you retire with a nice savings, you could still appreciate a higher Social Security benefit for the extra leisure time it allows.
Now you might think that the monthly Social Security benefit you get is set in stone. But actually, you can take steps to increase that benefit and earn more income during your retirement. And one of those steps may require you to take action and hustle during your working years.
1. Increase your pay
Social Security does not pay all seniors the same benefit. Rather, the amount of money you qualify for depends on your personal payroll history. That means if you can increase your pay, you can reward yourself with higher monthly Social Security salaries.
Now, increasing your pay probably won’t be tantamount to walking into your boss’s office and demanding a raise year after year. You may need to take matters into your own hands by lining up a series of side jobs or upgrading your skills to qualify for ongoing promotions. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you may become more financially stable once your retirement is complete.
2. Postpone your claim
You are entitled to your full monthly Social Security benefit based on your income history at full retirement age (FRA). FRA depends on your year of birth and is 66, 67 or somewhere in between.
But every year you delay filing an FRA, your benefits gain an 8% increase. That means if you have the latest FRA of 67, you still have the potential to grow your benefits by 24%.
Now you may not be able to delay your Social Security application until age 70 or even just a year after FRA. But the good news is, you get credit for every month you delay. For example, if you postpone your application for three months, your monthly benefit will increase permanently by 2%.
3. Submit Strategically To Your Spouse
If you and your spouse both qualify for Social Security benefits based on your respective income data, you have an excellent chance of coordinating your applications and getting a solid payday. A popular strategy for couples is to have the lower earners claim benefits at or around FRA and then have the higher earners at age 70 to increase that payment even more.
But that’s not your only choice. You and your partner need to put their heads together and figure out how to make the most of your situation, taking into account things like your income needs, life expectancy, and retirement goals.
The more you know about Social Security, the better able you are to get the most out of your benefits — and walk away with the highest monthly payday. Take the time to learn about Social Security so you can fully enjoy your retirement.