Tuesday, July 07, 2015 01:35pm
North Adams, MA now: 75 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
LOG IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
The Independent Investor: When Should You File for Social Security Benefits?
By Bill Schmick On: 02:43PM / Thursday May 01, 2014

Many of us yearn for the day we can retire and live the good life. However, too many Americans plan to retire at age 62 simply because that is when they become eligible to collect Social Security. That might not be a good idea in the majority of cases.

The Social Security system was intended to be easily accessible, but like so many of our government organizations, it has become a nightmare of complexity. Rather than try and understand the system, many simply retire at 62 and lose out on valuable benefits because they retired too early.

Recently, thanks to the bankruptcy of one regional hospital and another local company's early retirement incentive offers, I have been fielding a lot of questions on the subject.

For most people, it makes more financial sense to wait until you reach full retirement age (FRA) which is 66 (for those who were born between 1943 and 1954). This is especially so in low-interest rate environments like the one we have now. The simple reason is that for every year you delay filing, your monthly benefit will increase between 6 and 8 percent. That is far higher than the present rate of interest, so you are getting paid to wait.

Life is too short to wait, say some, especially if death comes at an early age. You can't predict when you will die, but if you are healthy and longevity is a trait that runs in your family, chances are you will increase your lifetime benefits by waiting. Single women will benefit more than single men simply because women tend to live an average of five years longer than men.

Married couples stand to benefit more than singles by waiting as well. As a 62-year-old spouse, you can choose to either file for Social Security based on your own earnings (if you are working) or on a spousal benefit, based on your spouse's income. However, to receive the spousal benefit your partner must have already retired. The spousal benefit is up to 50 percent of the earner's benefit. If you both wait until FRA or later you will both collect higher benefits.

As a couple, there are all sorts of strategies that could work for you. The lower-earning spouse, for example, could take benefits as early as age 62 while the higher-earning spouse waits until age 70 to file. You will need to crunch the numbers (or have a financial planner do it) to discover what's best for you.

Remember, too, that if you file for Social Security benefits before your FRA and continue to work you need to be aware of how much you earn. If your earnings exceed a certain limit, some of your benefits will be withheld until you reach your FRA. As an example, if you file at age 62, $1 in benefits will be withheld for every $2 you earn above $15,120. If you make more than $40,080, then the government withholds $1 for every $3 you earn above the limit.

If you are a two-earner couple, you have to think about your tax situation. Up to 85 percent of your Social Security income could be taxed if your modified adjusted gross income reaches a certain level. You may be in the unenviable situation where one spouse retires only to see her hard-earned benefits taxed away by the higher income bracket of the spouse.

In certain situations you may have no choice but to file at 62. You may lose your job and you don’t have enough savings to cover the bare necessities, then you may need that Social Security income just to live. For most, early retirement is really just an emotional urge to get out of a bad or boring situation as early as possible. If so, think again. You may have spent the good part of your life at that company and working a few years more won't kill you, but it may make the difference between a great retirement and one that you might regret.

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment adviser representative with Berkshire Money Management. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquires to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.



0 Comments
     
News Headlines
Decker, Beauchamp Lead Pete's to Victory
Sheffield Chef Brings 'Pop Up' Dining Experience To Berkshire County
Pittsfield 14s to Finish Game Suspended by 'Forfeit'
Berkshire Bank Completes Company-Wide Week of Service
PGA Junior Series Returns to Taconic
UCP to Host 17th Annual Golf Tournament Fundraiser
Tanglewood Picnic Book Seeing 'Amazing' Success
Waubeeka, MCLA Earn Narrow Wins in Giorgi League
Lanesborough 12-Year-Olds Reach State Final
Brien Center Management, Union Reach Deal to Avert Strike

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (172)
Independent Investor (234)
Archives:
June 2015 (7)
May 2015 (6)
April 2015 (8)
March 2015 (6)
February 2015 (7)
January 2015 (9)
December 2014 (7)
November 2014 (4)
October 2014 (9)
September 2014 (5)
August 2014 (7)
July 2014 (2)
Tags:
Election Banks Selloff Currency Debt Bailout Euro Rally Markets Oil Fed Housing Crisis Stock Market Taxes Jobs Fiscal Cliff Economy Deficit Greece Stocks Europe Japan Pullback Metals Federal Reserve Congress Europe Debt Ceiling Retirement Stimulus Recession Interest Rates Energy Commodities
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
Recent Entries:
The Independent Investor: Tiny Houses Gain Appeal
@theMarket: From Russia With love
The Independent Investor: Robo-Advisers Have Landed
@theMarket: Don't Try to Trade This Market
The Independent Investor: Why Interest Rates Are Moving Higher
@theMarket: Too Hot or Too Cold
The Independent Investor: How to Run for President and Make a Fortune
The Independent Investor: Man's Most Expensive Friend
@theMarket: June Is Off the Table
The Independent Investor: Will Memorial Day Kick Off a Strong Summer?


Sheep Hill Firefly Hike
Children and parents enjoyed a hike through the Sheep Hill...
Williamstown July 4 Parade
Williamstown celebrates its 250th anniversary with the...
Pittsfield 4th of July Parade...
The annual Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade marched down...
Solid Sound Day Three
Solid Sound concluded Sunday with performances from the...
Solid Sound Day Two
Saturday's performances at Solid Sound included NRBQ,...
Solid Sound Day One
Solid Sound gates opened at 4:30 and concert goers enjoyed...
Colegrove Park School Tour
School and city officials toured the far-from-completion...
Down Street Art 2015 Kickoff
Down Street Art kicked off Thursday night with music, food,...
High School Softball All-Star...
High school softball players from throughout the county...
Bashevkin Farewell Party
Nearly 100 staff, friends, family and partners of the...
Little League Championship...
Hunter Sarkis and Logan Briggs Tuesday evening singled...
Candlelight Vigil for S.C....
More than 300 residents gathered at United Methodist Church...
Central/South Relay for Life...
Hundreds spent Friday night and Saturday morning walking...
'Amazing' Book Launch Party
Hundreds turned out for the release of Ty Allan Jackson's...
Third Thursday June 2015
Third Thursday in Pittsfield brought thousands to North...
Bruins Rally At Cheshire...
The Boston Bruins held a rally for Cheshire Elementary...
Sheep Hill Firefly Hike
Children and parents enjoyed a hike through the Sheep Hill...
Williamstown July 4 Parade
Williamstown celebrates its 250th anniversary with the...
Pittsfield 4th of July Parade...
The annual Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade marched down...
Solid Sound Day Three
Solid Sound concluded Sunday with performances from the...
Solid Sound Day Two
Saturday's performances at Solid Sound included NRBQ,...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings |
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2012 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved

Privacy Policy| User Agreement