What Social Security Can Do For You

When we’re busy living our lives, earning a living, raising and educating children and possibly struggling – like so many people – with the challenge of bad credit, we do not spend a sufficient amount of time thinking about and planning for retirement. It seems so distant and remote, and many people engage in ‘wishful thinking’ when it comes to retirement planning, simply assuming they will somehow find a way to make it all work. Most people vastly underestimate how much money they will need and do not save enough money for retirement and if you suffer with poor credit it’s even worse.

The Reason Why Social Security Was Created

That’s where Social Security comes in. Despite the ongoing debate and controversy about the program, there is little doubt that it has accomplished the task set out for it when enacted in 1935: It provides a minimum income for people in their old age to prevent them from slipping into abject poverty if they have no other sources of income. The word ‘minimum’ must be kept in mind; the average monthly benefit is currently $1230.50, or slightly less than $15,000 a year. Under perfect circumstances, however, you could receive substantially more – and no matter where your benefit ends up, there is no doubt that any income is incredibly useful when you’re no longer working.

Your Social Security Benefits Depends On How Long You Pay The Fund

Social Security is not free money – you are paying into the fund in the form of payroll taxes right now. The level of benefit you eventually enjoy depends on how long you pay into the fund, and when you claim your benefits. You can legally claim a benefit when you turn 62, but your benefit will be higher if you wait until the official retirement age of 66, and higher still if you wait until you’re 70. If you’re married and both partners pay into the system from the age of 21 and wait until they are 70 to collect, the maximum possible annual benefit as of 2012 is $78,384. That’s not exactly a fortune, but it’s certainly enough to keep you out of the homeless shelter.

So when planning your own retirement, it’s important to do two things in addition to managing portfolios and planning future expenses: First, repair your credit profile if you’ve gone astray. Second, learn how you can benefit from Social Security.


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