Were you forced to retire early? 3 things you can do to postpone Social Security | Smart Change: Personal Finance
Claiming Social Security before your full retirement age (FRA) has consequences—namely, you’ll be stuck with a lower monthly benefit for life. This is why some seniors expressly aim to wait for the FRA to apply for benefits to avoid this fate.
But what if you are forced into early retirement? You may have every intention of working until your late 60s or early 70s, only to find yourself unemployed by age 62. At this point, you may feel that you have no choice but to claim Social Security in order to pay your bills and avoid draining your nest eggs.
In fact, you may have some options for deferring Social Security even once you cancel your job-related pay before the due date. Here are some things worth looking at.
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1. Get a part-time job
You may have trouble finding a full-time job if you are laid off or if health issues prevent you from working 40 hours a week or more. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work part-time.
These days, the workforce is becoming increasingly flexible and remote, so you may have more options for finding a job that’s easy to manage, even if you’re having a hard time navigating. If you are able to get a high enough salary, you may be able to fend for themselves for a while on that income alone, thus allowing your Social Security benefits to grow.
2. Cut back on your lifestyle
Losing your job may force you to claim Social Security right away — unless you’re able to make big lifestyle cuts that keep your expenses to a minimum. If you fall into this undesirable scenario, think about ways you can cut back on your lifestyle. Sell a bigger house and move to a smaller one, dump the car once there’s no job to report, and start cooking all the meals at home instead of eating out.
To be clear, I still need some income to live on. But if you cut back on your lifestyle for a few years, you may be able to make modest withdrawals from your 401(k) or IRA. This way, you won’t have to rush into Social Security.
3. Your home investment
If you are forced to retire early and have a larger home, there may be an alternative solution to downsizing – monetizing it. You could, for example, rent out part of your home and use that income to pay your bills. You could also consider creatively renting out parts of your home – for example, letting someone park in your driveway for money.
Don’t assume Social Security is your only option
When you have to retire ahead of time, it’s natural to assume that claiming Social Security is your only option. But in reality, you may have a lot of options to explore. It’s worth doing what you can to delay applying for benefits because waiting could lead to a streak of higher monthly salaries for the rest of your life.
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