3 Social Security Moves to Make Before 2023

3 Social Security Moves to Make Before 2023

(Katie Brockman)

As 2022 winds down, now is the time to start thinking about your finances for the next year. Regardless of whether you’re close to retirement or still have years left in your career, there are a few Social Security moves to make right now. While each of these steps doesn’t take much time, they can set you up for a more financially comfortable retirement.

1. Determine your full retirement age

Your full retirement age (FRA) is the age at which you’ll receive the full benefit amount you’re entitled to based on your career earnings. If you were born in 1960 or later, your FRA is 67 years old. Those born before 1960 will have an FRA of either 66 or 66 and a certain number of months, depending on your exact birth year.

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The earliest you can file for Social Security is age 62, but for every month you begin claiming before your FRA, your benefit amount will be reduced. If you delay claiming benefits until after your FRA (up to age 70), you’ll receive your full benefits plus a bonus amount each month.

When you know your FRA, it’s easier to decide the age at which you want to begin claiming. If you plan to retire and file for Social Security at the same time, knowing your FRA will also help determine your retirement age.

2. Check your estimated benefit amount

Even if you’re years away from retirement, you can still see an estimate of your future benefit amount. To do this, you’ll need to check your online statements through your mySocialSecurity account online. This will give you an estimate of your benefit amount based on your real earnings throughout your career.

Keep in mind that this number assumes you’ll be filing at your FRA. If you end up claiming early or delaying benefits, that will affect your benefit amount. Also, if you still have many years left before retirement, your benefit amount could change, depending on your future earnings.

3.Assess your savings

When you know approximately how much you can expect to receive from Social Security, it’s easier to gauge how much you’ll be able to depend on your benefits in retirement. From there, you can do a general assessment of your savings to see whether they’ll be enough to bridge the gap between what Social Security will provide and what you need to retire comfortably. If you find that you’ll be collecting less than you expected from Social Security, you may need to increase your savings rate.

This is still a wise move, even if retirement is years or decades away. If you find that you’ll need to rely more heavily on your savings than expected, giving yourself more time to save will make it far easier to reach your target.

A new year means setting new financial goals, and it’s a fantastic time to double-check that your retirement plans are on track. By making these three key moves right now, you can head into 2023 as prepared as possible.

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