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CBSMoneyWatch: Social Security Errors That Can Cost You Thousands

Mistake #1: Starting retirement benefits too early

Half of all Americans claim Social Security at age 62, the earliest possible age with the lowest monthly benefit. But most workers can significantly boost their lifetime payout of Social Security income by delaying the start of their monthly benefits. By how long? At least until age 66, and to age 70 if you can wait that long. For many married couples, this strategy will also improve the financial security of widows who, when their husband dies, will step up to the Social Security income their husband was receiving before he died.

I realize that many people lose their jobs and claim Social Security benefits early to make ends meet. But personally, I'd take any job that would pay me an amount equal to my Social Security benefits in order to reap the advantage of delaying my benefits as long as possible. I'd work at Wal-Mart (WMT), Starbucks (SBUX) or any other part-time job that pays enough to replace my Social Security benefits, while giving me enough free time to look for a better-paying position. In the long run, it's a financially smart move.

(iStock)

More From MoneyWatch:
10 Best Places to Retire
5 Social Security Myths that Have to Go
Are Your Social Security Taxes a Good Investment?



The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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