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Social Security: Average checks are only 40% of maximum possible amount

The maximum Social Security benefit for 2022 sits at $4,194. While that’s impressive, most only see $1,657.

Social Security card with checks for social security benefits

That’s just 40% of the maximum possible amount.

If you plan ahead, you may be able to reach past that average threshold.

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Here are three ways to try to earn a bigger Social Security benefit in the long run

Make the most money you can today

Your Social Security benefits are based on your annual income for your 35 highest earning working years.

There is a maximum set each year, and once it’s reached, you no longer pay Social Security taxes for the year.

That number in 2022 is $147,000.

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If you earned that every year for 35 years, or its equivalent from inflation, you’d see that $4,194.

Very few are able to do this, so simply earning as much as you can is your next best bet.

Be sure to check your statement every year to be sure it’s accurate.

You may not remember when it’s time to retire and claim benefits.

Things you do that could impact your spouse’s benefits

Work for a full 35 years

The benefits, as noted above, are based on your 35 highest wage years.

This means if you only have 30 years of work over your lifetime, there will be 5 years where $0 is averaged in.

This will drop your benefits significantly.

Working more than 35 years at the highest wage possible will boost your benefits in the long run.

4 ways to make the most out of claiming benefits early

Wait to collect Social Security benefits

Depending on what age you retire, you can see higher benefits for waiting to claim longer.

The earliest you can claim is age 62, and if you’re in bad health and do not expect to live long it may be a good idea.

If you’re in good health and wait until age 70, you’ll see the highest amount possible.

Your full retirement age, which is 66 or 67, is when you’ll see your full benefits.

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