In 2018, those who are on Social Security will get an average of $1,404 per month, or, $16,848 per year. For those who rely Social Security for more than 90% of their retirement income, that is a really small amount.


Here are a few tips with which you can maximize your Social Security retirement income.


Claim your benefits as late as possible

You can claim your Social Security retirement benefits as soon as you are 62 years old. And this is the most popular age for people to apply for Social Security. However, that people don’t realize is that 62 is not the Full Retirement Age (FRA). The Full Retirement Age is based on your date of birth. So, if you were born in 1960, then your full retirement age would be 67. And you only get 100% of your Social Security benefits at your FRA.


To find out what your FRA is you can go to SSA Retirement Age chart. The chart clearly shows how much you stand to lose if you decide to apply for Social Security benefits before your full retirement age.


And here’s another thing that most people don’t understand. If you wait even longer than your FRA, you stand to gain even more. If you have crossed your FRA and you still haven’t applied for Social Security, more gets added to your benefit amount till you reach the age of 70. These are called Delayed Retirement Credits.


Working Longer

Your Social Security retirement benefit amount is calculated using a formula in which the main component is your highest 35 years of earnings. So, if you haven’t worked for at least 35 years, then some of those years will be marked 0, which will drag down your average earnings. Which means your benefit amount will be much lower than it could have been had you worked at least 35 years.


Earn as much as you can

Since the calculations for Social Security Retirement benefits are based on how much you earned, it makes logical sense that the more you earned in your lifetime would qualify you for higher Social Security benefits at the end of your career.


One major way in which you can increase your earnings is by negotiating your salary when you are getting hired. A survey done by Career Builder showed that more than 56% applicants did not negotiate their salaries when they were offered jobs. The same survey showed that 52% employers offered less than what they were actually willing to pay.


Another way to earn more? Focus on learning new skills to increase your chance of being hired and career prospects.


Partner with your spouse to maximize your Social Security pay outs

Work together to maximize your Social Security payout. For example, the spouse with the lower salary could claim Social Security earlier, which could give you the income to live on. The higher earner’s benefits continue to grow as you wait as long as possible to cash in on those benefits.


In fact, there are so many different way in which married couples can increase their Social Security benefits, that it makes sense to hire a financial advisor who specializes in Social Security to help you out.


Move to a Different State that doesn’t Tax Social Security Benefits

One big way in which you can increase your Social Security pay outs is by moving to a State that is tax friendly for retirees. Two of these states are Florida and Nevada.

Increasing Social Security benefits is really important, especially if you are mostly dependent on it as a main source of income.


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