Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits

We all want to maximize our retirement savings, and one way to do it is through retirement contributions. But what about Social Security? Do we have any direct impact on what our benefit amount will be when it comes time to claim?

In order to make accurate projections, it is helpful to have an understanding of how Social Security benefits work.

  1. Benefits are calculated by taking the average of the highest 35 years of earnings. If you have worked less than 35 years when you claim, all years below 35 count as zero, so it’s important that you have worked a full career to maximize your payout.
  2. Know how much you will get when you start to claim. Benefits are capped at just under $2700. If that isn’t enough to cover your future expenses, start saving more to supplement your Social Security benefits.
  3. Know when to claim your benefits. You can begin claiming as early as age 62, but waiting until age 70 can increase your monthly check by up to 33%. Factors such as life expectancy, additional savings, and current state of health are only a few of the many things that go into determining the optimal time to begin claiming. When in doubt, hire a professional who uses computer models to pinpoint the exact moment you should take your social security to maximize your lifetime payout.

Bottom line, Social Security isn’t impossible to figure out, but there are strategies to maximize your future earnings if you do your homework. It may take the help of someone who specializes in the field to help you make the most optimal decisions for your future.


About cozbycpa

Heather L. Cozby is a CPA on the South Shore and Cape Cod. The managing partner of Cozby & Company, LLC, Heather has the resources and experience necessary to provide quality professional services on a timely basis and at a reasonable cost. She specializes in tax planning & preparation; audit, review & compilation services; management advisory services; bookkeeping; and accounting. Her unique niche is in working with homeowners’ associations and condominium trusts, advising with rental real estate, and providing outsourced financial consulting for mid-sized companies. She is more entrepreneurial than most accountants, and offers the best of both worlds - providing the services of a larger firm while retaining the ability to connect with her clients on a personal level.
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