Retirement is a journey. Getting where you want to go requires a plan.
Collecting benefits too soon.You may begin receiving your retirement benefit at age 62…at a reduced rate. You probably know this, but let’s talk turkey. If you were born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67. At age 62, your monthly benefit amount is reduced by about 30% of what you would receive if you waited until you are 67. The reduction for starting benefits at 63 is about 25%; 64 is about 20%; 65 is about 13.3%; and 66 is about 6.7%. In casual conversation, it’s common for folks to ask us, “When is the right time for me to begin receiving benefits?” We usually respond with a less-than-definitive, “It depends,” because many variables, both objective and subjective, factor in. If you have questions, let’s talk. We believe it’s important to tailor our thoughts and recommendations to your specific circumstances.
You collect prior to your full retirement age while still working.If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, Social Security deducts $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit– SSA. For 2019, that limit is $17,640. Ouch! In the year you reach full retirement, Social Security deducts $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a higher limit. The 2019 income limit is $46,920. Only earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age are counted. In many cases, the price of collecting Social Security while working and under full retirement age can be costly.
You are unaware that your Social Security may be taxed.IRA and 401k contributions may be deducted from income. However, Social Security taxes paid by the employee are not deductible. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into tax-free Social Security income. If you file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your combined income (excluding Social Security) runs between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of your benefits. Earn more than $34,000, and up to 85% of your benefits may be taxable. If you file a joint return, the threshold rises to $32,000 and $44,000, respectively. Next month I’ll tell you about three more social security traps you should avoid.
Mark Singer, CFPⓇ, lives in Swampscott and has been in the financial industry for over three decades. If you have any questions contact him at 781.599.2660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.