Part 4: Effective Claiming Strategies
Social Security benefits serve as a foundation that many Americans will rely heavily on in retirement. Program benefits provide one-third of total income for the elderly population and more than half of the income for a staggering 48% of those over age 65. Yet, despite this heavy reliance, 90% of Americans begin collecting Social Security benefits (at a steep reduction) before attaining their full retirement age. Early filing is linked to an increase in poverty and income inequality among the elderly, which in some cases may be remedied through more informed benefit-claiming decisions. Continue reading
Part 3: Benefit Categories
The Social Security Act of 1935 and its amendments created four categories of benefits, each based on the earnings records of a covered worker, and each designed to provide a basic level of economic security. In the third segment of our four-part series, we’ll focus on retirement benefits that are linked to the earnings of an individual worker. Continue reading
Part 2: Eligibility and benefits
In part two of our summary of the Social Security program, we’ll discuss the qualification requirements for retirement benefits, how they are calculated and adjusted, the point at which beneficiaries attain their full retirement age (FRA), and important rules for early or delayed filing. Our final segments will provide a summary of the types of benefits available, and some simple strategies that can help readers maximize their benefits. Continue reading
Part 1: history and future
The Social Security Act was signed into law on August 14, 1935, creating a social insurance program to pay retired workers age 65 and older a stable income after retirement. Enacted in the midst of the Great Depression in response to crushing poverty and a shift from agrarian self-sufficiency to post-industrial urbanization, the original Act sought to provide Americans with protection against the “hazards and vicissitudes of life”. Since its inception, millions of Americans have received benefits from the program, yet despite strong public support, the program has faced a series of funding challenges that continues to threaten its existence. Continue reading
People face many questions as they transition from work to retirement, but perhaps none more daunting than how to provide a reliable income stream without running out of money. While accumulating assets is a necessary part of retirement planning, at most levels of wealth, it is not sufficient to ensure a worry-free retirement. Continue reading
Social Security benefits provide the foundation that most Americans will rely on in retirement, and decisions related to the claiming of benefits can have a profound impact on retirement income and overall quality of life. Despite the heavy reliance on Social Security- it provides over 90% of the retirement income for one in three recipients-less than 5% of seniors avail themselves to strategies designed to maximize their benefits. Continue reading
The importance of Social Security cannot be overstated. The program provides approximately 60% of America’s seniors with half of their monthly retirement income, and for a third of recipients it comprises over 90% of their income. Despite this heavy reliance, less than 5% of seniors avail themselves to strategies designed to maximize their lifetime income and relieve the burden of poverty in old age. Continue reading
While certainly not a new problem, identity theft is a growing concern and has gained the dubious distinction of being the number one consumer complaint addressed to the Federal Trade Commission.
As our lives become increasingly busy and complex, and more information than ever is stored and transmitted on line, it is more important than ever to protect our personal information. Here are some simple and effective ways for you to do that. Continue reading
Ah, mid-February- that time of year when my postman provides a daily barrage of tax documents, and scolds me for not retrieving them quickly enough. When it finally becomes apparent that he can no longer jam another rumpled envelope into my overflowing mail slot I know it’s time to file my taxes. While this annual ritual often yields a financial reward in the form of a tax refund, there is clearly a higher purpose for the enormous pile of paper. Note to self: my inner guilt will be quelled; this year I will make better use of tax time, and so can you. Continue reading
Determining the ideal time to begin collecting Social Security retirement benefits is challenging enough, but combining this decision with when to begin drawing from your retirement assets can be positively daunting. In our most recent blog post, we presented several claiming strategies that, by and large, favored waiting to collect benefits. This week we’ll discuss whether waiting always makes sense and how to pay for it.