Wiser Wealth: The 6 Mistakes You’re Making that Hurt Your Social Security Plan

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Mistaken older man in a white jacket

Just because you are in the prime of your career now doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be thinking about what life will be like in retirement. You want to know a solid future is waiting for you, but mistakes now could hamper that.

Neal Templin of the Wall Street Journal advises that according to experts, social security benefits will likely account for 60% of your assets in retirement. That’s nothing to trifle with. So with the help of accountants and financial analysts, Templin offers how you can safeguard your finances for the long term.

Don’t Take Your Benefits too Soon

Just because you are in your 60s doesn’t mean it’s time to immediately start taking your social security. You don’t know how long you might have ahead of you, and you definitely don’t want to exhaust your benefits early only to find you’re still going strong at 90. It could be wiser to continue working while you can to plan for those what-if scenarios.

Don’t Wait Too Long If Claiming Early Actually Makes Sense

As stated with the last point, life is unpredictable. And unfortunately, that can also mean unexpected illnesses. You need to take your own circumstances into account. If you’re in your 60s and already dealing with severe health problems, it might be worth consulting with a financial adviser to discuss if claiming benefits now might make sense for you.

Don’t Avoid Work Due to Earning Limits

If you continue to work while on social security, the government will reduce your benefits. But that isn’t a permanent thing. Typically, your benefits will adjust back to normal for when you fully retire, so your assets will still be there for you. This helps protect you if you inadvertently started taking social security too soon.

Don’t Forget Your Benefits For if You Lost Your Spouse

Nobody wants to imagine losing a loved one, but the reality is one spouse will typically outlive the other. What you might not realize is when that happens you are entitled to “survivor’s benefits.” If you were living a life supported by a dual income, your benefits will reflect that if you file for survivor’s benefits once eligible in your 60s.

Don’t Take Marriage Lightly

Spousal benefits will usually only apply to you if you’ve been married at least 10 years. You should always carefully consider who you want to spend your life with to make you happy, but also because it will keep your finances secure. If you enter a bad relationship and get divorced, don’t expect any benefits from the marriage to be waiting for you.

Don’t Forget About Taxes

Even social security benefits can be subject to taxes. You definitely want to consult with an expert to be aware of what taxes your accounts may be subject to, and whether your benefit amounts put you in a low or high tax bracket. You don’t want any surprises on money you were counting on.

If you have been postponing considering these details, or just what your retirement plan will be like in general, it’s never too soon to start thinking it over.

For more tips about how you should be handling your social security, be sure to read the Wall Street Journal’s article here.

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Fred Hubner

Want to know if you’re on the right path financially? Fred Hubler’s Second Opinion Service (SOS) is a no-obligation review with Creative Capital Wealth Management Group‘s Chief Wealth Strategist. It’s simply not possible to get a reliable second opinion from the same person who gave you the first one. Click here to schedule an SOS meeting.

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