Retirement Checklist: 6 Things To Do Before Claiming Social Security
Before you start claiming retirement funds, be sure you check these six things off of list. Once completed you'll be well-equipped to receive everything.
So you're ready to take the big plunge into the golden years and retire. Congrats! This is a big step for the health and well being of your future, which you have probably looked forward to for a very long time. Now that it's here, you can rest assured in the fact that all your hard work has paid off. You hopefully have all your 401(k), pensions, and investments ready to work for you in retirement, but there are also a few things you need to do before you start to claim your Social Security funds.
Checklist Tip #1: Find Out Your Benefit Credits
This is very important to look into. Make sure you have the right number of credits to retire and receive Social Security. It's 40 credits. You can go to ssa.gov to find out if you have the right amount of credits to qualify. Basically, you just need to have worked for a certain amount of time and made enough money to earn Social Security for retirement.
Checklist Tip #2: Check Up On Your Spousal Benefits
You may be able to get Social Security spousal benefits as well if you were married for a certain number of years. This is true even if you are divorced from that spouse. So check in to the fact you may receive better benefits in your spouse or former spouse's Social Security benefit credits.
Checklist Tip #3: Know The Application Is Online
You can complete the application for Social Security retirement benefits online at ssa.gov and the great news is that the application only takes about 15 minutes. How easy is that?
Checklist Tip #4: Make Sure You Are The Right Age
You can start to apply for Social Security retirement benefits at 61 years old and nine months, but you won't receive the benefits usually until you are 66-67 years old depending on when your birthdate falls in the calendar year.
Checklist Tip #5: Know That You Are Ready To Stop Work
This is an important one. Some people don't want to retire. That's completely up to your lifestyle, health, and comfort level. Know that continuing to work can affect the amount money-wise you receive in benefits. So it might not be worth it to keep that part-time job if it's not going to take care of you in your later years.
Checklist Tip #6: Use The Retirement Estimator
Using an online retirement estimator can go a long way into planning how much you are going to have to live on each month. Being on a fixed Social Security income is doable if you are able to plan and budget accordingly. It may mean downsizing your current living situation into something more financially manageable or paying off some debt before you are able to retire.
When you are ready to retire, if you still have questions the Social Security government site can't answer for you, consider speaking with one of our financial advisors at California Retirement Advisors to help you set up your future. Feel free to contact us at cradvisors.com. This way you can sail into your retirement years with greater ease.
By Christian Cordoba
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
Founder, California Retirement Advisors
Investment advisory services offered through Mutual Advisors, LLC DBA California Retirement Advisors, a SEC registered investment adviser. Securities offered through Mutual Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Mutual Securities, Inc. and Mutual Advisors, LLC are affiliated companies. CA Insurance license #0B09076. This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by California Retirement Advisors. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. California Retirement Advisors, nor any of its members, are tax accountants or legal attorneys and do not provide tax or legal advice. For tax or legal advice, you should consult your tax or legal professional.