For years people have been worried about Social Security’s future, but what is the actual outlook? According to the federal government, unless Congress acts to intervene, Social Security shortfalls are expected beginning in 2035.
Social Security retirement benefits are financed primarily through dedicated payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers, with employees and employers splitting the tax equally. Employers pay 6.2 percent of an employee's income into the Social Security system, and the employee kicks in the same. Self-employed individuals pay the entire 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax. This money is put into a trust fund that is used to pay retiree benefits.
The trustees of the Social Security trust fund have reported that if Congress doesn’t take action, the fund’s balance will reach zero in 2035. This is because more people are retiring than are working, so the program is paying out more in benefits than it is taking in. Additionally, seniors are living longer, so they receive benefits for a longer period of time.
Once the fund runs out of money, it doesn't mean that benefits stop altogether. Instead, retirees’ benefits would be cut. According to the trustees’ projections, the fund’s income would be sufficient to pay retirees 77 percent of their total benefit.
Congress can act to shore up Social Security before this happens. Some ideas include eliminating the cap on income subject to tax. Right now, workers only pay Social Security tax on the first $137,700 of income. That amount can be increased, so that higher-earning workers pay more in taxes. The Social Security tax or the retirement age could also be increased.
Social Security is immensely popular and lawmakers are unlikely to allow steep benefit cuts to take place. The last time the program was in financial trouble and received a major overhaul was in 1983, when President Ronald Reagan and congressional Democrats struck a deal to increase taxes and gradually raise the retirement age from 65 to 67.
Discover a world of comfort, security, and joy with assisted living in Florida! This charming corner of paradise isnt just for vacations; its an idyllic place to relish the golden years of life. More and more seniors are embracing the opportunity to swap the demands of maintaining a home for the ease and companionship of Floridas thriving assisted living communities.Imagine a life where your time is spent pursuing hobbies, making new friends, and savoring gourmet meals, instead of aging in place and tackling house chores or worrying about home upkeep. Assisted living communities promise a stress-free lifestyle, where assistance is always available and your day-to-day needs are catered to with warmth and professionalism.Many Florida seniors are exploring this enriching lifestyle and the options regarding amenities, location, safety, and benefits of assisted living communities. Of course, understanding the costs of assisted living and strategizing how to best finance it is a primary concern for most seniors and their families.This comprehensive guide will help you navigate these waters and provide you with 8 of the best ways to pay for assisted living in Florida.The Cost of Assisted Living in FloridaAssisted living communities are designed to offer personal care support to seniors in a residential setting that feels like home. They provide levels of services covering everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, managing medications, preparing meals, and more.Like the diverse range of homes youve lived in houses, apartments, townhomes, and condos prices can vary based on size, location, amenities, and the surrounding area. The same applies to assisted living communities. Many are luxurious, offering a lifestyle reminiscent of a five-star resort complete with top-tier dining and amenities. Others offer a comfortable, upscale environment or more modestly-priced options for those who are more budget-conscious.Besides your living quarters, the services offered can also differ based on the specific needs of seniors. These can range from help with daily tasks and medication management to coordinating doctors appointments and more.Nationwide, the average cost of assisted living is around $4,500 per month, as reported by Genworth Financial. The 2023 average cost of assisted living in Florida is also about $4,500 per month. However, the cost of assisted living in Florida can fluctuate depending on the county, location, and specific community. High-end luxury communities can reach monthly costs from $10,000 to $15,000 and above. However, more budget-friendly options exist that come in below the average monthly price of $4,500.Knowing how to choose the best financial option and community for you or your senior loved one can seem overwhelming. At Florida Senior Consulting, this is all we do. We are passionate about helping you choose the community that is best for you now and in the future.8 Best Ways to Pay for Assisted LivingSecuring your comfort and peace during your golden years doesnt have to be a financial burden. In Florida, there are numerous approaches and tactics to make paying for assisted living an achievable reality. This guide will unveil the top 8 strategies to ensure you not only get the best out of your retirement housing, but also maximize the benefits each dollar can provide. Lets embark on this journey together to optimize your resources, allowing you to experience the tranquility and fulfillment you truly deserve in your retirement.1. Private PayPersonal SavingsPersonal savings serve as a valuable resource when planning for senior living and care. Over time, you may have built up a nest egg through savings accounts, investments, or other assets. These funds are a testament to your lifes work and a key to unlocking the comfort and care you deserve in your golden years. Recognizing the earning power of these savings in relation to the monthly costs of assisted living can be a source of empowerment. By understanding the dynamics of your personal wealth, you can confidently navigate toward a future that is not only sustainable, but also enriched with the highest quality of life.Retirement IncomeEmbrace the fruits of your diligence by leveraging your retirement income to cover assisted living or memory care costs. This could include funds from your 401(k), IRAs, or other retirement savings plans. Keep in mind, although there may be tax implications during withdrawals, it is all part of a well-strategized financial plan to ensure your comfort and care.Lets remember the benefits of Social Security, a familiar staple of retirement income. It exists to lend a hand in offsetting some of your living costs. As of 2021, on average, retired workers received about $1,500 per month from Social Security benefits. While it may not foot the entire bill for assisted living or memory care, every bit contributes to creating a more accessible and enjoyable retirement lifestyle. After all, every dollar is a stepping stone on your path to an enriching, carefree life.Budgeting and Financial ManagementEffective budgeting and financial management are key when using personal income to pay for senior care. This might involve tracking income and expenses, prioritizing needs, and minimizing non-essential costs.Seeking advice from a financial planner or elder law attorney can be beneficial, especially for complex situations. These professionals can help create a financial strategy tailored to your specific needs and circumstances, potentially helping your savings stretch further.In the next sections, well explore additional income sources and financial strategies that can help Florida seniors cover the costs of assisted living. 2. Leveraging Social Security Benefits for Assisted LivingSocial Security benefits, a lifeline for many American seniors, can be an important source of income when planning for assisted living or memory care costs. While Social Security does not have benefits specifically for assisted living, understanding how the benefits work and how to maximize them can be an invaluable asset to you when financing senior care.Social Security Benefits: A Helpful Boost for Assisted LivingThink of Social Security benefits as a beautiful reflection of your lifes work. Theyre based on your lifetime earnings and designed to supplement your income when you retire. Even though they may not have been specifically devised to cover the costs of assisted living or memory care, they undoubtedly play a significant role in reducing these expenses.Remember, while the average Social Security benefit around $1,500 per month in 2021 might not cover the entire cost of assisted living or memory care in Florida, it significantly lightens the load. Hence, exploring additional income sources or financial strategies becomes a necessity and an opportunity to craft a personalized and comprehensive plan for a worry-free future.Optimizing Your Social Security BenefitsConsider these exciting ways to make the most out of your Social Security benefits:Postponing Benefits: Did you know that if you hold off on receiving your Social Security benefits until after your full retirement age (FRA), you could increase your benefit by 8% per year up until age 70? Even though you can start receiving benefits as early as 62, waiting a few years could mean more monthly income!Claiming Spousal Benefits: If youre married, you have the unique opportunity to claim benefits based on your spouses work record. This could be especially beneficial if your spouse has higher lifetime earnings than you.Understanding the Earnings Test: If you claim Social Security benefits before your FRA while still working, your benefits might be temporarily reduced based on your earnings. Understanding this earnings test lets you strategically plan when to claim benefits.A professional advisor can illuminate these strategies and help determine your best path. After all, its about creating the most vibrant, care-free retirement lifestyle possible. 3. Embrace the Power of Pensions in Planning Your Assisted LivingPensions, a type of retirement benefit offering regular income, are akin to a treasure chest, continually providing you with valuable resources as you plan for your assisted living costs.By understanding how your pension works and how it can contribute to your care costs, you can design an effective financial plan that ensures your peace of mind.Exploring the World of PensionsDepending on your work history, various types of pensions might be available to you:Public Pensions: Generally offered to our valuable public servants, like teachers, police officers and other government workers.Private Pensions: Granted by private-sector employers, these pensions, although less common nowadays, can form a significant income source for those lucky enough to have them. Many Florida seniors have private pensions.Military Pensions: Specifically designed for veterans and their survivors, these pensions vary depending on factors like service duration and rank.Each type of pension comes with its unique set of rules and benefits, making it all the more important to grasp the specifics of your pension plan.How Pension Funds Contribute to Senior CareLets envision how your pension income can help shoulder the costs of assisted living or memory care. For example, suppose your pension provides $2,500 per month, and the cost of assisted living in Florida is $3,500. In that case, your pension already covers a substantial chunk of that cost.However, remember that your pension is just one piece of the puzzle. It may only cover some of your care costs, particularly if you require more expensive assistance like memory care. But, keep in mind you can combine your pension income with other various financing strategies.Maximizing Your Pension BenefitsMaximizing your pension benefits depends on the unique specifics of your pension plan. Some plans may present the option of a lump-sum payout, which can provide a more significant sum upfront but would eliminate the regular monthly payments.This is where a financial advisor becomes your trusted companion, helping you understand the best strategies for your situation and ensuring youre extracting the most value from your pension benefits.As we further explore financial strategies for assisted living, the upcoming sections will introduce other potential income sources, including long-term care insurance, veterans benefits, and more. These can all be pieces of your overall strategy. 4. Medicare and MedicaidMedicare Does Not Pay For Assisted Living ResidencesSeniors are often surprised to find that Medicare is almost no help with assisted living costs. Medicare does not pay for assisted living, although there are some limited benefits for short-term stays in Medicare-certified skilled nursing facilities.Medicaid Is Extremely Limited and Can Take YearsFor seniors over 65, Florida Medicaid is an extremely limited program. The senior must be in need of nursing-facility-level care and must not have more assets or income than the States low threshold. And, there is a waitlist that can take years to access the program, designed to help the frailest and neediest first. Expecting Medicaid to help with assisted living needs may not be the best option because of the complexity, uncertainty, and length of time required for accessing any benefits at all.In Florida, the program provides different types of assistance for long-term care, including Nursing Home/Institutional Medicaid, the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) Program, and Medicaid for Aged and Disabled (MEDS-AD). If you need more information about this subject for Nursing Home or Memory Care, contact us here. 5. Harnessing Veterans BenefitsIf youve served in the U.S. military, you may be blessed with extra resources to help finance assisted living or memory care. These resources are veterans benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).The Aid & Attendance (A&A)Think of the A&A as a bonus added to your monthly pension. However, its important to note that eligibility for this assistance is a prerequisite. A veteran may qualify for A&A if:They need the aid of another person for everyday personal functions like bathing, feeding, dressing, and others.They are bedridden due to a disability, separate from any treatment or convalescence.They are in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity.They are blind or nearly blind with corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes.The Housebound BenefitSimilar to the A&A, the Housebound benefit is an additional amount to your monthly pension. Its designed for veterans who:Have a single permanent disability evaluated as 100% disabling and, due to such disability, are substantially confined to their immediate premises.Have a single permanent disability evaluated as 100% disabling and another disability or disabilities evaluated as 60% or more disabling.Veterans Benefits are Often OverlookedVeterans benefits are valuable, significantly alleviating the financial strain associated with assisted living and memory care. Its recommended to contact the VA directly or work with an informed advisor to fully comprehend your eligibility and the application process.Remember that veterans benefits extend to more than just the veterans themselves spouses and surviving spouses could also be eligible. So, its worth pursuing this avenue when strategizing financing assisted living or memory care if you think you might qualify.Heres a quick summary of the Aid & Attendance benefits eligibility and application process:Eligibility for Aid & Attendance Benefits:Service Requirement: The veteran must have served at least 90 active days of military service, with a minimum of 1 day during a wartime period. The discharge should not be dishonorable.Medical Necessity: The veteran or surviving spouse must require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).Financial Requirement: The veterans household should have unreimbursed and recurring income for medical expenses, including assisted living and home care fees.Application Process:This process involves submitting an application form (VA Form 21-2680) for increased pension due to regular aid and attendance needs. This form is submitted to the Pension Management Center (PMC) serving your state. Along with the form, medical evidence like a doctors report indicating the need for aid and attendance of another person should be provided.6. Using Long-Term Care Insurance for Assisted LivingSuppose you are fortunate enough to have an active, long-term care insurance policy. In that case, you certainly want to apply those benefits to help with the cost of your assisted living. About 7 million US residents have some type of long-term care insurance in place. Different policies and programs specify what the plans will and will not pay for and for how long. Many policies do not cover assisted living at all.Good long-term care insurance is like your personal safety net, designed to support you with long-term services and personal or custodial care. This insurance covers a spectrum of care options and services, including home care, assisted living, memory care, and nursing home facilities.What is Long-Term Care Insurance?Long-term care insurance is a specialized insurance policy that provides coverage for long-term care costs. Its important to remember that long-term care isnt just medical treatment, but also assistance with essential personal tasks or activities of daily living (ADLs). This insurance is a crucial pillar in planning your future healthcare needs, helping safeguard your savings and ensuring your financial independence.Newer policy programs have more options, including hybrid policies with some life insurance features. But the best time to buy a long-term care policy is when you are younger, because the older you are, the more expensive the premiums will be. Also, you need to read your policy well to understand the specific benefits and exclusions, such as pre-existing conditions. Benefits of Long-Term Care InsuranceWith long-term care insurance, you can cover the cost of care not usually covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. Its a comprehensive plan covering home care, assisted living, adult daycare, respite care, hospice care, nursing homes, Alzheimers facilities, and even home modifications like stair lifts or ramps.Choosing a Long-Term Care Insurance PolicyWhen picking a long-term care insurance policy, know the daily or monthly benefit, duration, and inflation protection. These factors will influence the cost of your premiums and the amount of coverage you obtain.Special Considerations for Florida ResidentsFlorida residents should note that the cost of long-term care in Florida may exceed the national average a bit. Therefore, a higher daily or monthly benefit policy could be a smart move. Moreover, Floridas Long-Term Care Partnership Program offers some strategic advantages for Medicaid planning.Application and EligibilityThe application process for long-term care insurance might require you to answer some health-related questions and potentially undertake a physical examination. Insurance companies will consider your age, health, and the type of coverage you want when deciding the policy terms and costs.As with many things in life, the best time to get long-term care insurance is well before you need it. The younger you are, the cheaper it is. While traditional long-term care insurance is available to people ages 18-79, it is very expensive in your 70s. And as you get older, the odds of you having poor health conditions increases, and you might not qualify at all. If possible, get some long-term care insurance while you are healthy and in your 50s or 60s. 7. Life Insurance Policies and AnnuitiesLife insurance policies and annuities can be excellent tools in planning for long-term care, such as assisted living. Heres how you can leverage these financial assets to help offset these costs:Life InsuranceLife insurance policies can offer robust support in funding long-term care costs. Here are a few ways to use life insurance to your advantage:Accelerated Death Benefits (ADB): Certain life insurance policies come with an ADB clause, enabling policyholders to get an advance on their life insurance death benefit, tax-free, while they are still alive. This provision comes into play if the policyholder has a terminal illness or needs long-term care.Life Settlements: In a life settlement scenario, you sell your life insurance policy to a third party at its present value to generate immediate funds, which can then be utilized to pay for care.Viatical Settlements: Much like life settlements, viatical settlements involve selling your life insurance policy to a third party. These are primarily for individuals with a terminal illness and usually yield a higher payout than a regular life settlement.Conversion to Long-Term Care Policy: Some life insurance policies can be transformed into a long-term care policy, providing a financial cushion for care costs.AnnuitiesAn annuity is a financial product that you purchase upfront. In return, it provides you with regular payouts over a specified period of time. Here are different ways annuities can fund long-term care:Immediate Annuities: With immediate annuities, a single payment at the start ensures you start receiving payouts immediately. This can offer a steady income stream to cover care expenses.Deferred Annuities: In a deferred annuity, your initial payment is invested for a duration until you decide to kickstart the annuitization phase. At that point, you begin receiving payouts. Deferred annuities can be an effective way to plan for future long-term care requirements.Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLACs): A QLAC is a deferred income annuity that initiates payouts at a later age (up to age 85). This can be an essential source of income in later life when long-term care costs could be higher.Professional AdviceLeveraging life insurance policies and annuities for long-term care costs involves crucial financial decisions. Consulting with a financial advisor or insurance professional is highly recommended to ensure you understand all the implications and select the most beneficial course of action tailored to your specific circumstances. 8. Real Estate Options for Assisted Living PaymentsSuppose your senior loved one owns real estate. In that case, there are several options to help pay any assisted living expenses when they move to their new residence. The 3 main categories are selling, using the equity, or renting the property.Since we live in Florida, there is always an active real estate market. About 1,000 people a day move to Florida. Nationally, Florida cities rank at the top of the most popular cities to move to, including #1 Tampa, #2 Orlando, #6 Jacksonville, and #13 Miami.Selling Your Florida House for Assisted LivingSelling a seniors house is one of the most common ways to pay for assisted living. During the seniors lifetime, when they bought a new house, it was usually with the proceeds from the sale of the prior house. The same thought pattern is common here. Some advantages to selling your home are:You get a lump sum payment to pay any current medical bills and the cost of moving to your new assisted living community.You no longer have to maintain the home or make any mortgage or insurance payments.Proceeds from most home sales are tax-free.And with a strong Florida real estate market, quick closings and cash buyers are very common.Renting Your HouseRenting your house is another option. Your house becomes a monthly cash-generating asset to help pay assisted living expenses. The Florida rental market is traditionally strong, so this might be a good option for you. You will have to enlist a property manager, or helpful relative, to manage the property, handle repairs and collect the rent. One nice benefit is that you can leave the property to your loved ones in your will.On average, a 950-square-foot apartment in Sarasota will rent for $2,160. Of course, this price is higher when renting a larger home, with the median home rental cost in Sarasota being $3,200. This cost is 52% higher than the median for home rentals in the US. These numbers show that there is a chance to make a significant amount of money by putting your house or apartment up for rent.Overall, renting out your residence instead of putting it up for sale can be a smart choice for those who are willing and able to do so. It is an especially helpful strategy for those who are looking to earn extra monthly cash while keeping the asset in their family.Real Estate Loans for Assisted LivingWith a loan against your house, you can have the equity work for you. There are 2 common types of loan strategies used with assisted living funding:Bridge Loan and a SaleIf the seniors move to assisted living needs to be done quickly, there may not be enough time to sell the house first. However, it is simple to get a short-term bridge loan very quickly using the equity in the house. You can use this money for immediate needs. When the house sells, the bridge loan is paid off. And you can put the remainder of the sales proceeds into an account for future assisted living expenses. A HELOC and a RentalIf you decide to keep the seniors house for rental income, you can still get a lump sum of money with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This gives you the advantage of:Getting a tax-free lump sum of cash.Using the rental income to pay back the HELOC and help with assisted living costs.Keeping the house in the family.Receiving the benefits of appreciation when the house increases in value.These decisions can be complicated and come with tax issues to consider. But, they are also very powerful and important. It is always wise to meet with a certified financial advisor, specifically one who specializes in working with seniors. A financial advisor can holistically assess your financial situation and help you make the most cost-effective decisions for how to pay for senior living. Unlocking the Inside Track Insider SecretsIts often said that we dont know what we dont know.Gaining access to the best financial strategies when exploring assisted living communities requires in-depth industry knowledge. Like any complex industry, some unique strategies and techniques are not readily apparent to outsiders.Certain communities may offer flexibility with initial fees, accept evidence of a future real estate closing, or provide leeway as you apply for veterans or other benefits. But how do you identify these communities and find these opportunities?Every senior and their family desires the best financial arrangement possible. However, navigating the assisted living marketplace can be a daunting task, with most people unsure about where to start or which questions to ask.Your Free, No-Strings-Attached Consultation with the ExpertsMaking decisions on funding assisted living can feel like a monumental task. Comparing communities, understanding financial commitments, and securing the best price and terms can be challenging.Allow us to lighten your load with a free, no-obligation consultation to help you secure the best financial terms when exploring assisted living communities. Plus, our assistance in helping you tour, choose, and move into your perfect senior living community comes at no cost to you!We are a Florida-based company with a specialized understanding of the Florida senior market. Navigating senior options can be puzzling, but its our sole focus.We assist seniors in identifying their optimal next steps and finding the most affordable path for their transition.Our team includes certified staff and licensed nurse advocates, backed by decades of experience in the field. Your senior living experience should be on your terms, and the choice should always be yours.Reach out to us, and we will answer all your questions and help you decide what is best for you or your senior loved one. For peace of mind, call (941) 661-6196 or visit us at FloridaSeniorConsulting.com.
When it comes to Social Security, there is a lot to consider. Social Security is often associated with a retirement program, but you may enroll if you become disabled or lose a family member. Take a look at the diagrams below for information on how to make the right choices for you and your family.When should I start collecting Social Security benefits?The answer is different for every person and depends on many individual factors like your date of birth, marital status and financial position. The longer you wait to start collecting Social Security, the higher your monthly benefit will be. An Ameriprise financial advisor can help you determine an appropriate time for you based on your financial situation and goals. Social Security benefits by ageWhat is my full retirement age?Your full Social Security retirement age depends on the year you were born. If you were born on January 1 of any year, refer to the previous year to determine your full retirement age.1 Year of birth Retirement Age1943-195466 years old195566 +2 months years old195666 +4 months years old195766 +6 months years old195866 +8 months years old195966 +10 months years old196067 years old How do my Social Security benefits change if I retire early or late?As life changes and priorities shift, you may wish to retire before or after your full retirement age. Your Ameriprise financial advisor can help you determine an appropriate choice for you. Retiring early locks you into lower monthly payments and will decrease your lifetime benefit amount. Retiring later increases your monthly payment and the amount you will receive over your lifetime.Comparing Social Security benefits by age Can I receive the Social Security benefits of my spouse?As the spouse of someone receiving benefits, you may be able to claim benefits based on their income, even if you have never worked under Social Security. You may be eligible for benefits if you are: Social Security benefits of a spouse Can I collect benefits on behalf of my child?You may be able to claim benefits if the child you are caring for fits the following criteria: Benefits on behalf of a child Can my children receive Social Security benefits?A child who has a parent who is disabled or retired and entitled to Social Security benefits may also be eligible for benefits if they are: Am I eligible for survivors benefits?You may be eligible for survivor's benefits if you are: How does my military service or government employment affect my Social Security?As a veteran or government employee, your Social Security benefits may differ from others: Can I still work and collect Social Security benefits?You can collect Social Security benefits while working, starting at age 62. However, your age and earnings may impact the amount of benefits you receive during that time. Working won't permanently reduce the Social Security benefits you receive, nor will your withheld benefits disappear.Once you reach full retirement age:Your monthly benefit will increase, taking into account prior benefits detained due to earnings.Extra income no longer decreases your benefits.If you work and collect Social Security when you are: These types of income are exempt from the Social Security earning limit:Social Security income exemptions*If you work for someone else, only your wage amount applies to earnings limits. If you're self-employed, only your net earnings count. Does Social Security allow for inflation or cost of living increases?The Social Security Administration can enact yearly benefit increases called cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) based on inflation. Since 1975, COLAs have ranged from 14.3% (1980) to 0.0% (2009, 2010, 2015). Your financial advisor can help you identify other sources of income when Social security inflation adjustments are low.YearCost of Living Adjustment20228.7%20215.9%20201.3%20191.6%20182.8%20172.0% When and how do I apply for Social Security?An Ameriprise financial advisor can help you navigate the process for Social Security. When to apply for Social SecurityYou can currently apply for Social Security in the following ways:Our advisors can helpIf you have any questions about Social Security, your Ameriprise financial advisor can help you understand all aspects of your benefits and help you live more confidently so if your life changes, your plan can too.
People have many Social Security benefits questions because its such a vast program we help simplify the information and answer your top questions.Its common to associate Social Security with retirement. However, there is much more to Social Security than retirement income. There are many people who can qualify for Social Security benefits including retirees, their spouses, disabled individuals, and survivors of the deceased. For many people in the U.S., Social Security is a valuable program.In this article:What is Social Security?Who can qualify for Social Security benefits?What are Social Security credits and how are they earned?Can I qualify for benefits based on my spouses income?When should I take my Social Security retirement benefits?How is my Social Security benefit amount calculated?When do I apply and how do I apply for Social Security benefits?How can an Ameriprise financial advisor help? What is Social Security?1Social Security is a U.S. federal program that provides enrolled individuals with a source of income when they become unable to work or earn sufficient wages on their own. There are three types of Social Security benefits: Retirement (spousal benefits available in some cases)DisabilitySurvivors Who can qualify for Social Security benefits?You are eligible to receive Social Security benefits in the United States once youve accumulated 40 work credits as long as you also pay Social Security taxes (this is applicable for certain government employees or those who are self-employed). Non-U.S. citizens who are living legally in the United States and have earned benefits can also qualify for Social Security.What if I live abroad?Most U.S. citizens who live in foreign countries after they retire can qualify for Social Security benefits. However, the U.S. government will not send Social Security payments to those living in Cuba or North Korea. Additionally, Americans living in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan must qualify for an exception in order to receive benefits while living abroad.How do I qualify for Social Security?To qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, in most cases:You must be 62+ years old, or disabled/unable to work, andYou must have sufficient credits earned throughout your working life.To qualify for Social Security spousal retirement benefits:To qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you are under the age of 62:To qualify for Social Security survivors benefits: What are Social Security credits and how are they earned?Social Security credits determine eligibility and benefit amounts in retirement. In 2023, earning $1,640 in income qualifies as earning one Social Security work credit.2 You are eligible to earn up to four credits per year. Most people need 40 credits (10 years of work) to qualify for Social Security benefits though younger individuals require fewer credits for disability benefits or for their family members to receive survivors benefits. Can I qualify for Social Security benefits based on my spouses income?Short answer: in some cases.Retirement benefits are based on your own earnings record. However, spousal and survivors Social Security benefits are based on your spouses earnings, whether the spouse is deceased or divorced from you. Keep in mind that you can qualify for spousal or survivors Social Security benefits as well as your own retirement benefit but, Social Security wont let you add these amounts together. Instead, you will receive whichever benefit is larger. When should I take my Social Security retirement benefits?Waiting to collect Social Security benefits may be beneficial if youre able to do so. While the age to receive your full retirement benefit is 66-67 (depending on the year you were born), you can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62. But each month you wait to start collecting (up until age 70) increases your eligible benefits.4Once you reach full retirement age, youre entitled to 100% of the benefits calculated from your lifetime earnings. If you wait until age 70 to begin collecting Social Security, your retirement benefit will be 32% larger.3However, waiting may not be the right choice for everyone. Your financial advisor will help you determine an approach that reflects your options and your personal situation. For example, they may consider:Varying tax rates on Social Security incomeCapital gains and IRA withdrawalsHealth issues and life expectancy in your family historyWhether your current retirement accounts and additional sources of income (including Social Security or pensions) will cover your essential expenses before you reach full retirement ageView our Social Security Infographic for more information How is my Social Security benefit amount calculated? Another common Social Security benefits question is how payments are calculated based on your lifetime earnings. To account for changes in average wages each year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) indexes your income using the national average wage index. The SSA calculates your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) based on the 35 years in which you earned the most. A formula generates your basic benefits, otherwise known as your primary insurance amount. This primary insurance amount (PIA) is what you would receive at your full retirement age. If you were born between 1955 and 1959, full retirement age is between age 66 and 67. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67.5 When do I apply and how do I apply for Social Security benefits?The SSA recommends applying four months before you want your Social Security retirement benefits to begin. There are two ways to apply:Online application: Find it on the Social Security Administrations website.Over the phone: Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to apply by phone. How can an Ameriprise financial advisor help?Your Ameriprise financial advisor can answer any Social Security benefits questions you may have, as well as evaluate your Social Security options and help you with your overall retirement income planning. They will review how scenarios (such as working longer or delaying benefit collection) can help optimize the benefits for you, a spouse or family members.
Our Firm Prepares You for Life What makes our firm different is that we were built with the needs of growing families in mind. We understand you are BUSY, you are growing, you are planning for a life of prosperity and you value ease, convenience and efficiency. You are raising children, and caring for elderly parents, while also working hard to build your own nest egg for a lifetime of support. You want to know youve made the best decisions for your family and that your plan will work when your loved ones need it most. You want to make sure your minor children would be raised by the people you choose, and never by anyone you wouldnt want, and that your teens and adult children are properly prepared to care for you and what you leave behind. You want to feel confident that youve made the right choices, and handled everything so that you arent leaving behind a mess, when something happens. That is our focus as well. Weve developed unique systems to give you the same access to a Personal Family Lawyer as was previously only available to the super-wealthy, so you can have the guidance you need to build and maintain a life of prosperity and wealth. And, to keep your family out of court and out of conflict, which is the greatest risk to the people you love and all you have created, even if youve already worked with a traditional lawyer or created documents online. Our Team Is Here for You We encourage communication with our clients. In fact, weve thrown out the time clocks so you never have to be afraid to call with a quick question. Everything we do is billed on a flat-fee basis, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises. We have a whole team to serve you. When you call our office to ask your quick question, you wont have to wait hours or days for a phone call back. Youll get your question answered, right away. And, if you need to schedule a more in-depth legal or strategic call with your Personal Family Lawyer, a call will be scheduled when you're both available and ready for the call so we can make the very best use of your time and not waste your time by leaving voicemail after voicemail back and forth. And, we ensure the most important details of your planning are followed through on and your plan continues to work throughout your lifetime. We have a funding coordinator to ensure your assets are owned the right way throughout your lifetime and none of your assets will end up going through a long, expensive court process or being lost to the state because they were missed after your death. Weve created unique membership programs to keep your plan up to date year in and year out as well as give you access to our Trusted Team of Legal Experts for guidance on ANY legal or financial matter. One day you will need a lawyer. I dont know why and I dont know when, but when you do, you will be grateful you can call on us and well be here to advise you or get you out of a jam. We Help You Transfer Your Life and Legacy Lastly, we believe your financial wealth is only a small part of your overall Life and Legacy Planning which is made up of your far more valuable and most often lost upon incapacity or death intellectual, spiritual and human assets. These assets are what make you who you are, and sum up whats most important to you. And, a survey of inheritors has revealed that what they care about even more than inheriting your money, is inheriting these intangible assets. Most estate plans only focus on the transfer of your financial wealth to the next generation. Most people have such great intentions of passing on the intangible, but very few ever get around to it. Its just not a priority, until its too late. How much do you know about your grandparents values? Their most prized personal possessions? How they felt about you? What they had learned during their lifetime? If you are like most people, you know very little. Thats why we build the capture and passage of these most valuable assets into every estate plan we create. Not only will we help you pass on your money, but also your values, your insights, your stories and your experience the truly valuable assets your loved ones care about the most. Weve developed a tool that allows us to capture and pass on your whole family wealth, including your Intellectual, Spiritual and Human assets. I cant go into all of the details here, but well definitely talk about it when you come in for your Life and Legacy Planning Session.