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13 tips to maximize your Social Security

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Recent years haven’t always been kind to private retirement accounts, and even though everyone of a certain age loves nothing more than to disparage our chances of getting Social Security, for right now, it’s still waiting out there on the retirement horizon between the shuffleboard court and you.

To take a little of the tarnish off those golden years, Renee Morad at Yahoo Finance has thirteen tips for maximizing this source of income, and if you’ve already taken steps to solidify other accounts of retirement income, it can’t hurt to go back and take care of the basics, too.

1. Work at least 35 years

Social Security benefits are calculated based on your 35 highest-earning working years. If you work fewer years, you’ll have years with zero income averaged in – which will lower your payout.

2. Ask for a raise

If you experience a jump in salary, you’ll likely boost your future earning potential and may see an increase in your Social Security payments down the road – since as we just explained, Social Security takes into account the 35 top-earning years of your career.

3. Take a second job

The same logic applies: If you earn more each year, you’ll likely increase the amount you get in Social Security when you retire.

4. Wait until full retirement age to claim Social Security

You can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but you might not want to: Your benefit will be reduced by 25 percent for life. To get your full payment, wait until you reach full retirement age – currently 66 for anyone born between 1943 and 1954. For those born between 1955 and 1959, the age gradually rises toward 67. For those born in 1960, it’s 67.

Full story at Yahoo Finance.

Planning for retirement.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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