Social Security Traps That Cost You Money
Most people assume that Social Security will take care of them when they retire; however, some things that people do jeopardize the amount of their Social Security benefit because they do not fully understand all of the rules and regulations about Social Security. These Social Security traps can hurt you and your spouse’s financial well-being. Learning about Social Security traps and how to avoid those traps are the best way to ensure that you are fully prepared for your retirement.
Three Social Security Traps to Avoid
Social Security Trap Number 1: Taking Money Too Early
It seems each year that the Social Security Administration raises the age for retirement. Currently, the age for full retirement benefits is 67; however, you can retire at age 62 but with penalties. If you retire at age 62, you only receive 70% of your Social Security benefits. This will last for five years until you reach the full age of retirement at 67. However, you receive several benefits if you wait until 67 to retire. First, if you wait until your full retirement age, your monthly benefit will be larger. Second, if you continue to work after the age of 62 and contribute to the Social Security fund, you will receive a higher monthly benefit than you would have received if you quit work at age 62. Third, the SSA calculates the cost of living adjustment (COLA) on the amount of your monthly benefit. If you decide to take your Social Security benefits at the age of 62, your COLA will be less than if you wait until 67 to begin receiving benefits.
Social Security Trap Number 2: Working Income
The Social Security Administration does permit individuals who are 62 years of age to begin receiving benefits while continuing to work; however, there is a penalty. If you decide to take your Social Security benefits beginning at age 62 while you are still working, your monthly benefit will be reduced. In 2015, the reduction rate is $1 for every $2 of earned income above $15,720. This reduction continues, based on your earnings from employment, until you reach the full age of retirement. The good news is that your benefits are not lost – they are simply deferred and credited to your account until you reach full retirement age.
Social Security Trap Number 3: Spousal Benefits