Not satisfied with your Social Security benefits? Here’s how you can boost it | Smart Change: Personal Finance
Underestimating the cost of living for seniors is a common mistake people make while planning for retirement. It’s easy to assume that once you stop working, you’ll start spending less, especially since your open schedule doesn’t revolve around a job.
But many seniors are learning the hard way that retirement costs more than expected. While not having to show up to work means eliminating some expenses, like commuting, it also means spending more time at home and getting more hours to fill. This can easily result in the need for more funds for things like utilities and activities.
That’s why it’s so important to apply for Social Security strategically. Signing up too early may result in you getting less interest – an advantage that doesn’t end with lowering your overall expenses.
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But what if you’ve already gone and applied for Social Security early? You might assume that you are now stuck with the monthly benefit you’ve collected.
The good news is that you may have the option of getting a higher monthly interest. However, the bad news is that rolling back your Social Security file to increase your benefit may not be so easy.
You have a second chance
If you’re not satisfied with your monthly Social Security benefits, you’re not necessarily stuck with it for life. But if you want to ramp up this feature, you’ll need to act fast.
Once you claim Social Security, you get one chance in your life to roll back your file and sign up again for benefits at a later age, at which point you are entitled to more money on a monthly basis. But to take advantage of this option, you’ll need to do two things.
First, you will have to withdraw your application for benefits within a year of filing. So if it’s been 10 months since you started collecting Social Security, now is not the time to get over the problem.
However, the hardest part of the equation involves paying back all the money you’ve paid so far to the Social Security Administration. If you don’t pay off all of your benefits within a year, you can’t undo your file.
If you have savings that you can tap into, paying off those benefits may be possible. But if you don’t have savings and you’ve already spent that money, things get even more difficult.
In this case, you may still have a few options. If you own your own home, you will likely pay off your Social Security benefits from the proceeds from a home-buying loan or line of credit. And if you have some valuable asset that you’d like to give up — for example, a work of art that’s worth a decent amount of money — you can sell it to pay off the money.
Don’t settle for benefits that will leave you in financial trouble
If you realize early in retirement that you miscalculated your costs and that your current monthly Social Security benefits won’t reduce them, it’s definitely worth checking if backing out of your claim is an option. You could end up earning monthly Social Security interest for the next 30 years of your life or more. The last thing you want is a benefit that you know won’t lead to the lifestyle you hope to maintain.
The $18,984 Social Security Bonus Most Retirees Totally Forgot
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