So you're ready to take the big plunge into the golden years and retire. Congratulations! This is a big step for the health and well being of your future, which you have probably looked forward to for a very long time. Now that it's here, you can rest assured in the fact that all your hard work has paid off. You hopefully have all your 401(k), pensions, and investments ready to work for you in retirement, but there are also a few things you need to do before you start to claim your Social Security funds. Before you start claiming those funds be sure you check these six things off of your list. Once completed you'll be well-equipped to receive those funds each month to start your retirement off on the right financial foot.
Checklist Tip #1: Find Out Your Benefit Credits
This is very important to look into. Make sure you have the right number of credits to retire and receive Social Security. It's 40 credits. You can go to ssa.gov to find out if you have the right amount of credits to qualify. Basically, you just need to have worked for a certain amount of time and made enough money to earn Social Security for retirement.
Checklist Tip #2: Check Up On Your Spousal Benefits
You may be able to get Social Security spousal benefits as well if you were married for a certain number of years. This is true even if you are divorced from that spouse. So check in to the possibility you may receive better benefits if you file for spousal benefits using your spouse or former spouse's Social Security benefit.
Checklist Tip #3: Know The Application Is Online
You can complete the application for Social Security retirement benefits online at ssa.gov and the great news is that the application only takes about 15 minutes. How easy is that?
Checklist Tip #4: Make Sure You Are The Right Age
You can start to apply for Social Security retirement benefits at 61 years old and nine months if you want to receive your benefit at the earliest possible time. This is also the lowest possible benefit for you. Receiving benefits at 62 has other rules that you need to consider.
Checklist Tip #5: Know That You Are Ready To Stop Work
This is an important one. Some people don't want to retire. That's completely up to your lifestyle, health, and comfort level. Know that continuing to work can affect the amount you receive in benefits. It is possible to earn to much from work and have to return a portion of your Social Security benefit.
Checklist Tip #6: Use The Retirement Estimator
Using an online retirement estimator can go a long way into planning how much you are going to have to live on each month. Being on a fixed Social Security income is nearly impossible but doable if you are able to plan and budget accordingly. It may mean downsizing your current living situation into something more financially manageable or paying off some debt before you are able to retire.
When you are ready to retire, if you still have questions the Social Security website can't answer for you, make sure you chat with a knowledgeable financial advisor to help answer them. That way you can sail into your retirement years with greater ease.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.