Living on Social Security

October 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

If your only source of expected retirement income is Social Security, what steps can you take to maximize your money?

Wait– or suspend payments. If you haven’t started taking Social Security, a general rule is that your Social Security income is maximized the longer you wait to begin to take checks. So if you can postpone taking payments until you are age 70 you will receive the largest monthly amount. If you have already begun, you may be able to suspend payments until later years and possibly increase your monthly check amount by 32%. It’s worth considering.

Pay off debt. Make debt repayment as much of a present priority as possible in the years leading up to retirement , preferably before, taking your benefits. If that’s not possible, and believe me, there is no need to feel guilty if you have been unable to do that, do what you can to not add debt to your present budget. I know the economy is tough, but making debt repayment and resisting the urge to add debt is money well spent and behavior that pays off.

Keep working. If you are at all able to work, keep working. Holding off on taking Social Security and continuing to work may increase your income enough that your eventual Social Security check may also increase. If you are healthy and able you may work well into your sixties. Do it if you can.

Be Frugal. Finally, be frugal. If frugality is new to you, you will soon find many of us have been happily living a frugal lifestyle for years. There are enthusiastic followers of all different kinds of financially careful lifestyles. Learn about couponing and how to save on groceries with others who have mastered the practice. Befriend others who are great crafters and others who are masters at finding second-hand treasures. You may find fun in making old things new.

Whatever you do, being fiscally prudent is a good thing. No one has unlimited funds. We all have a budget. And many are worse off than you may be. So don’t feel like a victim. Have a great attitude and enjoy your beautiful life!




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