Social Security: Avoid mistakes that may cost you $1,000s in benefits

Millions of Americans are retired, and a lot of them depend on Social Security benefits to supplement part of their former income.

social security card with checks representing social security benefits

What you decide to do when you collect benefits can impact the rest of your life.

There are a few things people do wrong that have a negative impact on their lives and benefits.

Three things to avoid doing that can cost you $1,000s in lost Social Security benefits

You may end up claiming your benefits at the wrong time

Retiring early sounds nice, but if you do it too early you run the risk of losing money.

The first thing you want to be sure to do is to work a full 35 years throughout your working life.

Retiring too early could result in you not working a full 35 years.


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If you’re short on working years, $0 will be averaged into your monthly benefits, lowering what you make.

Even those who have put in the full 35 years can see a hit to their benefits if they retire before reaching full retirement age.

If you retire at 62, you could see up to 30% less per month.

Your full retirement age is 66-67 depending on when you were born.


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You don’t think about your spouse and their benefits

By being married, you could cash in on a larger benefit.

A spouse’s benefits can go up by as much as 50% of their working spouse’s.

In order to claim this way the marriage needs to have lasted 10 or more years.

If you divorced but never remarried, you can still claim your ex-spouse’s benefits once they retire.


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Pay attention to your statements

You’re given a statement by the Social Security Administration so you can see what you earn and how it may impact your potential benefits.

You want to review it every year and look for mistakes.

If there’s an error from years beforehand that you can’t remember, you may end up losing money in the long run when it’s time to retire.