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5 Social Security Bugs, of which you probably do not even know you're making a mistake – The Motley Fool

We all make mistakes. We produce non-financial coffee, for example, if we want to brew caffeinated coffee in the evenings, if we want to make some decaf, and if we do not invest enough money, for example, to invest enough money to build up a retirement fund.

Another Kind of Mistake That our retired comfort is short is a mistake we make in terms of social security. This is dangerous because, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), 48% of married elderly welfare recipients and 69% of unmarried people draw 50% or more of their income from it.

  The foot of a man in a suit, stepping on a banana peel.

Source: Getty Images.

Here are five social security mistakes many people make. You may do one or more without knowing it.

No. 1: Do not set up my social security account

If you have not yet set up a My Social Security account on the SSA website, you should – for several reasons. Firstly, you can at any time retrieve estimates of your future benefits and view the SSA's records of your income and taxes paid into the social security system.

It's also good to set up this account as soon as possible in case you're not an identity thief. This is one way that crooks can cause massive headaches for many Americans – if they are put online and try to get their benefits.

No. 2: Do Not Check Earning History

If you are in your Social Security account, you can review these records of your income throughout your working life and see if it looks right. If you keep good records, you may be able to check them closely.

It is advisable to review the records occasionally so that you can identify and correct possible errors. If the record does not reflect all of your earnings, then when it's time to calculate (and pay!) Your benefits, you'll be short-cut.

No. 3: Not knowing your "full retirement age"

You should also determine your "full" retirement age. At this age you can collect the full benefits you are entitled to. It is important to know this age as it is likely to be an integral part of any social security strategy that you may be carrying out. The full retirement age for all was previously 65 years, but it is now 66, 67 or for most people in between:

Year of birth

Full retirement age

1937 or earlier



65 and 2 months


65 and 4 months


65 and 6 months


65 and 8 months


65 and 8 10 months [19659018] 1943-1954



66 and 2 months


66 and 4 months



1958 [19659017] 66 and 8 months


66 and 10 months

1960 and later


Source: Social Security Administration.

No. 4: Planning to start collecting benefits at a suboptimal time point

You can make your social security exams larger or smaller than you would receive if you started collecting at full retirement age – by collecting sooner or later. For each year that you delay after the retirement age, increase the value by about 8% – up to the age of 70 years. So, if you delay between the ages of 67 and 70, you can get fatter with a check of 24%. [19659002] This works the other way round if you start collecting early. For each year before your full retirement age, which you begin to collect, your benefits will decrease by about 7%. So, if your full retirement age is 67 and you earn benefits at the age of 62, your checks are about 30% lower.

Many people would like to wait until they are able to pay for these fat checks, but they do not appreciate that. The checks will be larger, but there will be fewer of them. The program is designed to be about the same, regardless of when you start collecting, if you have an average life span. Given this and the fact that few of us know how long we will live, it makes sense for most people to gather at 62.

On the other hand, if your family has many living people you can afford to delay the start of collecting. This can be useful.

It can also be a mistake to start collecting work while you work – or to take on a significant job income while earning benefits. Why? If you earn too much, you can withhold some of your benefits. (This can be annoying, but you'll get the money later, so it's not a serious mistake.) Your benefits may even end up being taxed.

No. 5: Do not vote with your spouse

If you are married, it is important to agree on when to collect benefits with your spouse. For example, you may begin to collect the spouse's services with the lower life record early enough or at an early stage while delaying the beginning of collecting the benefits of the higher earning spouse. In this way, you both receive an income earlier, and when the higher earner reaches 70, you can collect extra large checks.

If this earning spouse dies first, the spouse with the lower earning total can earn these larger benefit checks – widows and widowers can choose to receive 100% of their deceased spouse in lieu of their own. (Survivor benefit is not available for those who marry before the age of 60, but if you are at least 60 years old and have been married for at least 10 years.)

It is worth learning more about Social Security so that They will make smart decisions to get as much out of the program as possible. After all, you have probably paid Social Security taxes (the "FICA" Deductibles) throughout your working life.

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