Social Security may be in jeopardy: The latest projection from the trustees of Social Security and Medicare shows that the program won’t be able to pay out full benefits by 2035 if Congress makes no changes. The program is already running low on funds, and there have been budget cuts over the past few years.
This is just one reason why you can’t rely solely on Social Security in retirement. Most recently, the Social Security Administration has slowly stopped mailing out most Americans’ Social Security benefit statement and encouraging people to access their statements online. From 2012 to 2018 the number of people who reviewed their online statement dropped from 96% to 43%.
The research shows that when these statements are only available online and are not mailed to recipients, they are less likely to make the optimal decisions when claiming their benefits. So if you’re under 60, be aware that the only Americans who will still receive paper benefit statements are those 60 and over who have not claimed their benefits and did not set up an online account. Most important, if you are nearing the age at which you’ll claim benefits you should create an online account and check your statements regularly.
Research shows that when people review their Social Security benefit statements they are less likely to claim at a younger age, as if you claim before your full retirement age your benefit will be reduced. Working longer and waiting to claim at, or past, your full retirement age could be a strategy to get the most out of your Social Security benefit. If you wait until age 70 to claim your benefit, it could be up to 132% of your benefit if you had claimed it at your full retirement age. However, there are many factors to consider when deciding when to start collecting.
To make an online account, either look for a letter with an activation code or go onto the Social Security administration’s website and use a valid email address to create an account with your Social Security number and address.
Even if Social Security is not in jeopardy, it’s important to have a comprehensive retirement plan in place. The professionals at Epstein & White can assess your finances and help to create such a plan for you. Take the first step by clicking here to schedule your no cost, no obligation financial review today.