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Social Security Trends For 2019

Social Security provides much-needed income to more than 62 million Americans who have paid into the fund during their working years. Approximately one in four families receive some sort of benefit, either through retirement, disability or death of an immediate family member.

Social Security will frequently change and 2019 is no different. Keep up with those changes so you fully get the most out of your Social Security benefits. Here are a few changes for 2019 that you should be aware of if you are currently receiving or will soon be eligible to receive Social Security.

The benefit is going up 2.8 percent for a cost of living adjustment.

The full retirement age is increasing to 66 and six months if you turn 62 in 2019.

The maximum retirement benefit is increasing.

Then again, so is the maximum payroll tax for people still paying into Social Security.

We all want to enjoy retirement the way we choose, something that is certainly possible for people who have a robust retirement fund or pension to augment their Social Security check. But even without a supplementary retirement fund, there are ways to make the most out of what you receive from Social Security.

Longevity in the workforce. Social Security payments are based on your top annual earnings over 35 years. If you didn’t work for 35 years, zeros are factored in.

Claim the full amount. You can start claiming your benefit at age 62, but you will receive upwards of 30 percent less than if you had waited until full retirement age (either 66 or 67, depending on when you were born).

.Think about delaying. You can earn more if you delay receiving benefits until after you reach full retirement age, as much as 132 percent if you wait to age 70.

Budget. Taking cost-cutting measures before you reach full retirement age or once you retire will allow you to save more. Downsize your home, reduce your car payment or even take a part-time job.

Social Security has been part of our system since 1935 and while the system’s long-term future is cloudy, that won’t immediately affect people who currently qualify for Social Security or are about to reach the age of retirement.

For now, Social Security is a necessary source of revenue for anyone on a fixed income, so it’s advantageous to know how to make the most of that money. If you have questions, the Social Security Administration offers benefit planning for retirement (www.ssa.gov/planners) that is helpful.

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