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The Social Security Act was enacted in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of his New Deal. The act was a governmental plan to provide supplemental income post retirement. In the 1930s when the law was passed, the life expectancy for men was in the late 50s and for women in the early 60s. Nowadays, life expectancy has substantially increased to the mid to late 80s. While this is great news for our elderly loved ones, an increased life expectancy creates challenging obstacles when it comes to collecting social security benefits.
Contrary to popular belief, social security was never intended to make up 100% of your retirement income; social security income was only meant to supplement other retirement income saved throughout your working years. In order to receive social security benefits, you have to have paid into the system through social security tax for a minimum of 40 credits or at least 10 years overall.
Spouses are eligible for spousal benefits if the marriage lasted for those 40 credits or 10 years. Ex-spouses are also eligible for spousal or survivor benefits if the marriage lasted for the same 40 credits or 10 years, and if the former spouse is not remarried.
When you claim your benefits can have a significant impact on how much your spouse will receive each month. If you are married, it is important to consider both of your ages and potential social security benefit as a couple to ensure you get the most out of your joint benefits.
The amount of benefits will be based off of the amount earned during working years. When you apply, the Social Security Administration will look at the highest 35 years of earning and calculate your benefits off of that.
It's important to monitor your record to ensure that you catch any potential mistakes made by the SSA. You can do this by visiting www.SSA.gov and using their Retirement Estimator.
Retirement age depends on your birth year. The earliest age you can collect is 62. If you can wait until full retirement age, your benefits will increase about 8% per year until age 70. When you turn 70, you are eligible for a maximum monthly benefit based on your situation.
Because everyone’s circumstances are unique to them, it is important to talk to a financial professional to understand your fiscal situation in-depth to make the best possible decision.
Reach out today to discuss all of your options to ensure you're making the best decision for your retirement!