West Palm Beach, FL / Since the 1940s, Social Security has been the primary source of income for millions of retired and disabled Americans. Today, however, you don’t have to wait to quit work to collect Social Security benefits. If you haven’t reached retirement age, you have several choices you’ll need to make in the years ahead to maximize your social security benefits. Here, Marc Linsky looks at some of the things you’ll need to consider if you’re thinking about drawing social security retirement while you’re still working.
With over 178 million workers contributing to Social Security every month, the laws surrounding the system are becoming more complex each year. For example, are you aware that your full retirement age depends on your date of birth? Marc says you still can draw benefits as early as age 62. However, several factors exist which could have a significant impact on the amount you receive. For example, if you elect to take your benefits early, your benefits could be significantly reduced because you chose to receive them before full retirement age. “Then there’s the option of continuing to work,” Marc says. He explains if you continue employment, there’s a certain threshold of income you can make before your benefits are again reduced. (If you retire at your full retirement age, those thresholds won’t apply to you.)
Marc Linsky says these Social Security thresholds are still the same as when the Social Security Administration established them in 1993. Why haven’t they changed? Marc says the primary reason they remain unchanged from year to year is that the average American’s wage increases annually. Keeping the thresholds the same year after year means more people will start hitting that threshold earlier in life. This acts as a sort of a “raise” for SSA each year without them having to announce a tax increase. “It’s one little-known way they continue to fund the system,” he says. If you decide not to continue working, Marc says your benefit will depend on your full retirement age, which has slowly increased to age 67, and benefits could be higher if you wait till age 70. He says there’s no real benefit for waiting past age 70, and no deduction exists then even if you are continuing to work.
Social Security’s website reports just under 70 million recipients receiving social security benefits of some kind each month. With staggering numbers like that, Marc Linsky says it’s important to understand that the SSA is extremely busy. There’s a chance, he says, that you won’t get the benefits you deserve unless you know to ask the right questions. “I’ve seen too many people who were given the wrong advice,” he says. Marc says the Social Security Administration has an online earnings test calculator where you can estimate your potential benefits as well as estimate how much could earn if you choose to continue working after retirement. “But I highly recommend not to leave this up to chance,” he says. Social Security and retirement planning are what certified financial planners do every day. He adds, “with the laws more complex than ever and changing from year to year, it’s imperative you understand what your best options are for your retirement years. Don’t hesitate to give me a call – I’m always happy to help you find the best plan for your situation.”
Marc Linsky CFP is a certified financial planner and the President of Estreet Financial, a financial investment firm specializing in retirement and financial planning with particular focus on those in the medical professions. He holds the CFP certification, which is recognized as the standard of excellence for the financial planning profession and has been helping people with their financial, retirement, and estate planning since 1986. Marc holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Economics from Penn State University. He has been married 33 years to his wife, Molly, and has 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren. Estreet Financial has offices in New Jersey, Florida, and New York.