#228 – Maximizing Social Security: How it Works and Will It Be There When You Need It?
The Retirement Answer Man theme for July is how to maximize social security. On this episode, we’re covering the basics: how it works, and are social security benefits even going to be there when you retire? This can be a bit of a dense subject, but I will do my best to make the topic as fun and interesting as possible. You may think that social security won’t play a very big role in your retirement if you have a lot of assets, but after listening to this series you’ll see that social security is more important to your retirement than you think. Get started with your research on social security by listening to this episode today.
What are the benefits of social security?
Even if you have plenty of assets, social security benefits are an important part of retirement. As with any benefit you need to learn how to maximize it to its fullest. There are different branches of benefits through the social security system; disability benefits, dependent benefits, and survivor benefits. The one we think the most about though, is retirement benefits. You pay into the system year after year and can begin to receive the benefits at age 62. Social security is a fantastic resource that helps many retire with dignity. You need to learn how to get the most out of it and can start learning as much as you can by listening to this episode of Retirement Answer Man.
Will social security be there when you need it?
Social security is 90% of income for about a third of American retirees, and for 50% of retirees, it consists of half of their income. So it is scary to think that this benefit could be exhausted as soon as 2022. Fortunately, according to the social security administration website, the fund will not completely disappear at this time. It will only cover about 75% of what it needs to, but it will not totally vanish. The reason there is a problem with funding is that there are more baby boomers retiring and receiving benefits than there are people contributing to the system. Listen to this episode to find out if you need to worry about vanishing social security and how that could affect your retirement plans.
How to fix social security
Since there is a maximum amount that you can receive, social security is a bit of a redistribution system. It is a highly politicized topic, but if it is to continue, a solution must be found to funding social security in the future. There are several ways that we could continue to fund social security in the years to come. Being that it is a significant income source for many retirees, finding a solution is important. Some ways to solve the funding issue are by increasing social security taxes on incomes, eliminating the maximum deposit, reducing benefits, modifying the cost of living adjustments, raising the retirement age, and closing loopholes. Listen to this episode to hear about the many different ways that we could easily help fund social security in the future.
How are benefits calculated?
How do you qualify for social security benefits? Social Security is earned over a 35-year work history. You earn credits each quarter and you need 40 quarters of wages to qualify to receive benefits. The amount you receive is determined by your work and earnings history. If you retire before retirement age the amount calculated will add zeros to your average. This will bring down your average earnings and reduce your benefits. The way they average the amount earned is called the AIME: or average indexed monthly earnings amount. It is important to consider your AIME if you are planning to retire early. Listen to this episode to hear how to download your latest social security statement and check your earnings record so that you can begin to calculate your estimated benefit amount.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE RETIREMENT ANSWER MAN
HOT TOPIC SEGMENT
- [2:25] What are the basics of social security?
- [5:54] Will social security be there when you need it?
- [7:33] How to fix the social security problem
PRACTICAL PLANNING SEGMENT
- [11:11] How are benefits calculated?
- [16:05] What is the eligibility for spousal benefits?
THE HAPPY LAB SEGMENT
- [18:38] The next time that someone slights you, respond with grace
TODAY’S SMART SPRINT SEGMENT
- [20:15] Go to my YouTube channel and subscribe to find some fun bits of retirement wisdom and info
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That
BOOK - Rock Retirement by Roger Whitney
3-video Series: 5 Minute Retirement Makeover
Roger’s Retirement Learning Center
The Retirement Answer Man Facebook Page