How Couples Get the Most Out of Their Social Security
Social Security planning can be tricky, especially if you and your spouse are different ages. It is important to be prepared and plan accordingly to get the most out of your benefits. Focus on the best time for you to collect as a couple, not just as a single entity. This is a common mistake couples make, and you could potentially lose some of your benefits.
Here are some strategies to get the most out of your Social Security:
1. Primary Breadwinner Can Delay Benefits
When one spouse is the primary breadwinner for the couple, it usually makes sense for that person to delay their Social Security income. This solution works best for a couple where the husband is a few years older than the wife and has been the primary breadwinner.
One key reason to use this strategy is that your Social Security benefit will increase for each month after age 62 when you delay the start of benefits. These credits can be very beneficial to you and your spouse.
Delaying is also beneficial if the primary breadwinner passes away. The surviving spouse typically receives a monthly income equaling or coming close to the income of the primary breadwinner. This tactic can increase the amount of income your spouse will receive when you pass away.
2. Consider Your Health Status
Another important factor in deciding when to take your Social Security benefits is the health of you and your spouse. Spouses who are in poor health may consider starting their benefits early to get the most of the benefit. Spouses who are in good health will benefit from delaying Social Security, increasing the amount of income they receive in the future.
3. File for Spousal Benefits
If a couple has a significant difference in earnings, it may be beneficial for the spouse with fewer earnings to file for a spousal benefit instead of their own. You may have an option to claim spousal benefits based on 50% of your spouse’s amount. Do some research to determine which benefit will be the most financially beneficial for your family.
4. Both Delay Benefits
The easiest way for a couple in good health to make the most out of their Social Security is by delaying benefits for as long as possible. The earliest age you can collect your benefits is age 62. You can delay collecting your benefits until age 70, causing your benefits to increase in value over time. This method will work for couples with a normal to high life expectancy that made similar earnings throughout their careers.
Make the Most Out of Your Couple Status
Married couples have more options than single people do when filing for Social Security benefits. This gives married couples an advantage when it comes time to file for Social Security. Each couple can claim at different rates or profit from spousal benefits. Making the most out of your Social Security will require some strategy, and it is important to focus on your health, quality of life, differences in income, and how long you would like to continue to work.
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