When it comes to funding retirement, you’re fighting an uphill battle.
Between your own savings, Social Security, and perhaps a pension, even then the cash can run a little thin as the years you don’t work tick by.
There’s still hope that you won’t have to scrape the bottom of your piggy bank once your working years are over.
The deal-breaker that secures your retirement cash is something you should consider long before you ever tap into your savings and benefits.
Let me tell you what it is, and how to make the most of that money.
There are quite a few decisions you have to make when it comes to funding retirement.
One of the most troubling is when to tap into your Social Security benefits.
Others include when to rebalance your portfolio, when to stop working, where to live, what your new budget will be, and so many more.
There isn’t a set-in-stone blueprint out there that will give you the answers to the questions you have.
Online resources will say they have the perfect retirement guide, but generalized advice won’t help you make the best decisions to maximize your retirement money.
You need someone to take a look specifically at your situation and to advise you based on your life, finances, plans, and capabilities.
But those people are often certified professionals that would cost a good chunk of your retirement savings just to hire, and the whole point is to have the most money as possible.
Not that their advice wouldn’t be helpful, but you probably would benefit more from a personal approach.
And by that, I mean who knows your situation, goals, tolerances, and dreams better than you?
That’s why I try my best to provide you with all the tools you need to make informed retirement decisions; including tips and tricks to making your pennies go as far as possible once you’ve stopped working.
In response to the never-ending list of questions you have when it comes to retirement, I say take a deep breath.
We’ll take them one at a time.
Today, I want to focus on Social Security.
Although this won’t provide the bulk of your retirement income, it will offer quite a good payout if leveraged correctly.
Because Social Security is every bit the government’s beast, it’s surrounded by red tape, confusing jargon, and sticky loopholes to catch you off-guard.
One of the most unanswered questions about Social Security is when you should tap in to start receiving benefits.
Sure, the government will allow you to as early as 62, and they’ll even let you continue working alongside the monthly checks.
What they don’t tell you is that you’re likely cutting a huge portion of your check out each month by earning money still.
They also won’t tell you that tapping in prior to working 35 years stunts your payments for life. The benefits you receive no matter your age depend on your 35 highest-paid years.
So if you retire after having only worked 30 years, or you’re making the most you ever have and retire before logging those higher salaries, your stunted Social Security will plague you for the rest of your life.
To protect you from traps like these, I’d like to shed some light on two considerations you won’t be reminded to make when it comes to your benefits.
The first is your lifespan. The second is your marriage.
Both are very personal subjects, I understand, and that’s why I think it’s best you help yourself out in this instance.
The first consideration you have to make about SS benefits is how many years after retiring you expect to collect them.
To be blunt: how long after retiring do you expect to live?
What often happens is people base their retirement income calculations on how many years their parents lived, or the estimate given to their generation at birth.
With the advancement of medical technology, improved living conditions, and other conveniences, you may be spending money a lot longer than you previously thought.
To prevent shortsighted estimates from docking your payments, you should take stock of your health at intervals throughout your life.
Those in good health at age 65 should add years to their estimates. While they may have counted on previous lifespan guesses, the numbers say that they’re expected to live to age 96 or longer.
From age 67, that’s 29 years of income you need to plan for.
The next consideration that many people don’t plan for is their spouse’s SS benefits.
When one spouse makes more money than the other prior to retiring, their benefits will be higher.
There is a significant chance at least one spouse will live longer than the average.
When one spouse passes away, one SS benefit will end. The surviving spouse will have to live on only one benefit check.
In order to ensure that the remaining benefit is the higher one, prior to retirement, the higher-earning spouse should delay their SS as long as possible.
That way, regardless of which spouse passes away, the remaining spouse will have the higher benefit available to them.
I hope these deal-breakers for your SS cash haven’t dampened your mood too much.
As much as I don’t like talking about topics like these, it’s important that we don’t avoid important conversations just because they make us uncomfortable.
That’s how you end up shorting yourself on retirement cash and get stuck high and dry with no money.
I want to make sure that doesn’t have a chance of happening to you.
These important choices are ones you should be aware of, and I refuse to join the ranks of the spineless advisors that won’t tell you the truth about your retirement.