IIf you’re about to retire, you might consider claiming Social Security sometime in 2022. But even if that’s not your plan at all, it’s still worth checking these important Social Security tasks off your list before the end of 2021.
1. Find out your full retirement age
The Social Security benefit you are entitled to in retirement will be based on your earnings history — specifically, the amount of money you earn in 35 years of the highest wages in the workforce. Once you reach your full retirement age, you can get your benefits in full.
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It is important that you know your FRA because you are allowed to claim benefits before accessing them. In fact, you can register for Social Security as early as age 62. But for each month you file prior to the FRA, your benefits will be reduced.
Knowing your FRA can help you better plan for retirement. It can also prevent you from claiming benefits too soon. Here’s what your FRA would look like, depending on the year you were born:
|year of birth||full retirement age|
|1955||66 and 2 months|
|1956||66 and 4 months|
|1957||66 and 6 months|
|1958||66 and 8 months|
|1959||66 and 10 months|
|1960 or later||67|
Data source: Social Security Administration.
2. Estimate your future benefit
In the course of your retirement planning, it will help to know how much monthly income to expect from Social Security. As we just learned, benefits depend on earnings and also on when you apply for them. But it may be helpful to get an initial estimate of the monthly benefits you are entitled to. Your annual earnings statement is a great place to access this information.
You can find your earnings statement by creating an account at SSA.gov – although if you are 60 or older, you must receive these documents by mail.
One thing you should know is that the closer you get to retirement, the more accurate your benefit estimate will be. By contrast, if you’re in your 40s, the number you see on screen might be pretty cool, because a lot can happen in terms of wages between now and the time of retirement. But still, it never hurts to have an idea of what income you might be at the same level.
3. The fight to increase
What does getting a premium have to do with Social Security? Much. The more money you earn during your career, the more interest you may qualify for once you retire.
If your employer does not offer a salary increase until 2022, you may need to be proactive about asking for a raise. Look up the salary history for your role and industry and see if you can prove more money. Remember that a lot of companies are dealing with labor shortages these days, so your employer may be more flexible in the payroll department than you expect.
Social Security might not be something you think of unless you’re about to retire. But it’s still a good idea to know your finances law, estimate your future salary, and keep fighting for higher earnings with the hope that one day you’ll be in line for a more generous benefit.
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