How To Find and Maximize Your Social Security Payout

In an efort to save money, the Social Secuity Administration has suspended its mailing of annual benefit statements. You can still get estimated retirement benefits online by visiting ssa.gov/estimator.

I just went on and found out that their system isn’t working at the moment, so I used their social security estimator, which is weak because I don’t know how much I’ll earn in future years, but based on the information I gave it (the same salary each year from now until I retire), I can expect about $2,000 each month in today’s dollars if I retire in just 43 years (woohoo can’t wait!)

OK, so that’s great, but with social security being the way it is, I’m not going to write that amount down in pen yet. I’ll wait to see what the future holds while funding my retirement accounts any way I can.

For people who are a little closer to retirement age than I am, there are some really interesting decisions to be made. These involve the decision about how and when each spouse should claim benefits, and the difference could be enormous.

The reason there could be differences is that by claiming benefits at age 62, benefits will be reduced by 25% for the rest of your life. By waiting until 70, benefits won’t start for an additional 4 years, but they will be 132% of the amount you would receive at the standard retirement age.

With spouses, there are combinations that will maximize benefits and others that will result in losing money. In order to find out which route you and your spouse should take, check out Social Security Timing, an online social security tool that simplifies these decisions for you. It can should just how much money is at stake and you may be surprised to find that this “simple” decision could earn you an additional $50,000 or more over the course of your lifetime.

Readers, go use the tool and let me know how much is at stake for you!

3 Responses to How To Find and Maximize Your Social Security Payout

  1. Sorry, Daniel, that site comes up short.
    It asks you to tell it your benefit, then says a wrong decision will cost you $XXX, but it’s an invitation to find an advisor, it really offers no value.

    • Daniel says:

      @JoeTaxpayer, Did you scroll down to the portion where it offers your top 3 strategies?

      It may not be comprehensive, but it is giving the strategy that works best in specific situations.

      • @Daniel, yes. The three options look like the standard choices, and since I entered the same number for wife and me, suggesting “lower earner….” implied the site doesn’t differentiate.
        I’ll look at the site some more. First impression is site is a teaser for paid service.

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