As fall arrives, the changing of the season can be an ideal time to revisit your financial plans with a fresh perspective. This includes what you can expect for your income and expenses for the year ahead. Social Security beneficiaries will soon see the biggest jump in monthly checks in 40 years. Here's what you need to know.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a 5.9% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits for up to 70 million Americans, the biggest increase since 1982. This raise will kick in for those who receive Social Security benefits in January 2022.
Americans who receive SSI benefits will see theirs increase a little earlier, starting on Dec. 30, 2021. How much is the new monthly benefit for the average American? And will the bigger payments combat the effects of inflation on household goods and health care? Here's a look at how much your social security check will increase in 2022.
How the Social Security COLA is calculated
The annual Social Security COLA is based on the change in prices of a market basket of goods. To measure these changes, Social Security uses the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
For the 2022 COLA, they measured the change in the average CPI-W index from July, August and September of 2020 to the average CPI-W index for the same three-month span in 2021. The percentage change between the two quarterly averages is the COLA starting in January 2022.
The 2022 COLA was so large because prices of goods and services have significantly increased in the past year, due in part to extreme weather and COVID-19 outbreaks, which have driven up energy prices and strained the world’s supply chains. Since Congress initiated automatic annual COLAs in 1975, there have been three years in which benefits didn't increase at all: 2010, 2011 and 2016.
Social Security Payment Increase
Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, it caused a major increase in goods and services. As the country started opening up, businesses had a hard time keeping up with the increased demand. This created a rise in prices, causing inflation to jump to 5.3%, which is the largest increase since Aug. 2008. The rise in inflation is the major driver for increases in Social Security payments.
The increased Social Security benefits are to be paid by American workers. The SSA announced increases to the wage base, which is the maximum amount an employee pays in Social Security taxes. The maximum amount of an employee’s wages subject to SS taxes has risen from $142,800 in 2021 to $147,000 for 2022, an increase of 2.9%. Even though everybody knows to expect the unexpected, no one could have predicted how the events of the past 20+ months would change the world.
As a result, many people had to shift their approach toward financial planning and retirement savings and are now looking for ways to get back on track.
How Agemy Financial Strategies can help you plan for 2022
At Agemy Financial Strategies, we have an array of will and retirement planning solutions to guide you through the entire process all with the help of our trusted financial planners. For those nearing retirement, reach out to your retirement income advisor. Not all financial advisors have the same level of experience or will offer you the same depth of services. It’s always important to do your due diligence and make sure the advisor can meet your financial planning needs.
It's never too late to start saving for retirement. And while COVID has thrown a curveball to so many Americans who have worked their entire lives to retire comfortably, we are a resilient people - and now is a good time to regroup, reassess your retirement situation and establish a plan based on your goals and your needs.
No matter what your financial situation, there are a number of questions and concerns that should be addressed to help you prepare for retirement in 2022 and beyond. For more information on how you can best prepare for retirement, contact the trusted financial advisors at Agemy Financial here today.