President Eisenhower once said, “When it comes to battle, I find plans useless and planning essential.” Plans can change on a dime — and that has never been truer than it is today. While we might not be able to stick to every plan we put together, planning is something we can not go without. Especially when it comes to Social Security and its current battle with insolvency. Our benefits are fit to change, but planning benefits a few years out can make our retirement more adaptable to change overall, as CNBC’s Ryan Ermey reports.
Planning Benefits a Few Years Out
Our total benefit amount can differ on a multitude of factors. For example, whether we take spouse or survivor benefits or whether we were high earners during our working years, or even the amount of inflation we currently have can directly affect how much we take home. But the universal factor that can hinder or boost everyone’s benefit is time.
Time, or most specifically age, is the largest determining factor when it comes to calculating our benefits. Our full retirement age can differ depending on our birth year and claiming before it can drastically reduce benefits. On the other hand, waiting until you’ve past your full retirement age can significantly increase your benefits. This is important to remember, those who are 52 now might be surprised that they have more than 10 years till retirement, with their full retirement age being 67.
Planning to Plan
Knowing that difference could change your retirement plans. Not everyone can afford to wait to take their benefits, so if you have the time now to calculate your predicted benefit, you should do so. The Social Security Administration has an excellent benefit calculator, where you can enter in your earnings and when you expect to claim your benefit.
It’s impossible to predict the future exactly as it will happen, but that’s even more reason to plan ahead. Planning benefits a few years out from retirement can keep us flexible and protect against unforeseen changes that otherwise would put our retirements at risk.
For more retirement tips and tricks, follow along with the Council for Retirement Security.