About Your Retirement

Retirement benefits are the benefit that the majority of individuals are most familiar with. The benefit amount that a person may receive for retirement is affected by eight primary factors. These factors include:

  • Are you receiving benefits while working?
  • The type of work that you do (farm work, military service, self-employment, etc.)
  • Government Pension Offset
  • Income tax
  • Maximum Taxable Earnings
  • Pensions, Annuities, Interest, and Dividends
  • Social Security Credits
  • The Windfall Elimination Provision

Additionally, when estimating future benefits, it’s important to keep in mind:

  • Your earnings may increase or decrease in the future
  • Your benefits will be adjusted for the cost of living
  • The law regarding your benefit amount may change

To find out more, click here to download the 2017 ssa publication on retirement benefits

What’s the best time to take your benefit?

The answer is that there’s no one “best age” for everyone and, ultimately, it’s your choice. The most important thing is to make an informed decision. Base your decision about when to apply for benefits on your individual and family circumstances. We hope the following information will help you understand how Social Security fits into your retirement decision.

Every situation is different

Would it be better for you to start getting benefits early with a smaller monthly amount for more years, or wait for a larger monthly payment over a shorter timeframe? The answer is personal and depends on several factors, such as your current cash needs, your current health, and family longevity. Also, consider if you plan to work in retirement and if you have other sources of retirement income. You must also study your future financial needs and obligations, and calculate your future Social Security benefit. We hope you’ll weigh all the facts carefully before making the crucial decision about when to begin receiving Social Security benefits. This decision affects the monthly benefit you will receive for the rest of your life, and may affect
benefit protection for your survivors.

If you delay your monthly benefit, it will increase over time.

Your full retirement age varies based on the year you were born. We calculate your basic Social Security benefit — the amount you would receive at your full retirement age — based on your lifetime earnings. However, the actual amount you receive each month depends on when you start receiving benefits. You can start your retirement benefit at any point from age 62 up until age 70, and your benefit will be higher the longer you delay starting it. This adjustment is usually permanent: it sets the base for the benefits you’ll get for the rest of your life. You’ll get annual cost-of-living adjustments and, depending on your work history, may receive higher benefits if you continue to work.

The following chart shows an example of how your monthly benefit increases if you delay when you start receiving benefits. Monthly Benefit Amounts Let’s say your full retirement age is 66 and your monthly benefit starting at that age is $1,000. If you start getting benefits at age 62, we’ll reduce your monthly benefit 25 percent to $750 to account for the longer time you receive benefits. This decrease is usually permanent.

If you choose to delay getting benefits until age 70, you would increase your monthly benefit to $1,320. This increase is the result of delayed retirement credits you earn for your decision
to postpone receiving benefits past your full retirement age. The benefit at age 70 in this example is 76 percent more than the benefit you would receive each month if you start getting benefits at age 62 — a difference of $570 each month.

Retirement may be longer than you think

When thinking about retirement, be sure to plan for the long term. Many of us will live much longer than the “average” retiree, and most women live longer than men. More than one in three 65 year olds today will live to age 90, and more than one in seven will live to age 95. Social Security benefits, which last as long as you live, provide valuable protection against outliving savings and other sources of retirement income. Again, you’ll want to choose a retirement age based on your circumstances so you’ll have enough income when you need it.

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The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Some of this material was developed and produced by Harvest Financial Planning, LLC to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.  Harvest Financial Planning, LLC Is Not Associated With The Social Security Administration Or Any Government Agency.