Joel Johnson, CFP® answers questions about Social Security on Better Money.
Determine if your Social Security payments are taxable. If your income is over a certain amount, (counting a part of your Social Security) it will be taxed. Some people won’t pay any taxes on their S.S., others will find that 50% is added to their income for taxation, and for some people, 85% is taxed. It all depends on the total income – your working income and your S.S. payments.
You will often hear advice to start collecting your Social Security benefit at the age of 70, but that is not the right thing for everyone. If S.S. is the only retirement income you’ll have, you should wait as long as possible to begin collecting. If S.S. is not your only retirement income, view it as just another account, and determine the best combination and sequence to take money from all accounts.
The best way to figure out when you should begin collecting is by talking to a financial advisor.
Your Social Security benefit is based on your top 35 working years. If you want to maximize your payout, it is necessary to work at least 35 years of your life, as non-working years are calculated with a 0.
People who stop working before full retirement age and have not worked for 35 years will receive a reduced benefit.
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