Taking The Luck Out of Your Social Security Payments

Taking The Luck Out of Your Social Security Payments

February 27, 2023

Worried about how potential Social Security changes will affect your pot of gold? Don't leave your retirement income to chance this St. Patrick’s Day; take control of your financial future by planning Social Security into your retirement plan.

According to the Social Security Administration, in 2023, an average of almost 67 million Americans per month will receive a Social Security benefit, totaling over $1 trillion in benefits paid during the year. 

While Social Security can make up a significant portion of retirement income for many individuals (up to 40% of retirement income), it was never designed to be the proprietary source of cash for your golden years. Today, the future of Social Security remains uncertain, forcing people to ask questions like, “Will Social Security run out?”

According to long-term projections by the Congressional Budget Office, if changes are not made to the program, its funding could be exhausted by 2033. 

Running Out of Time and Luck?

Due to the fact Social Security may only be able to pay full benefits for another decade, lawmakers in Washington are looking for ways to save the program, and the possible changes will affect the benefits Americans receive.

Broadly, that comes down to two potential key changes: raising the retirement age and increasing the amount of annual wages subject to the Social Security payroll tax. But this could be prevented.

"The Social Security fund will be insolvent in less than a decade. If Congress chooses to do nothing, current law requires painful 24% cuts to benefits and a daunting future for fulfilling our promises. If we come together now, we can preserve and protect the retirement security of all Americans now and long into the future," Senators Angus King, I-Maine, and Bill Cassidy, R-Louisana, wrote in a recent statement.

The proposed plan is not yet fully developed which is leaving many Americans more confused than ever.

If you're relying on luck when it comes to SSI payments in retirement, you could be in for a nasty surprise. Knowing where you stand now with Social Security will only pay off in the future.

Understand the Basics

First and foremost, retirees should familiarize themselves with the basic workings of the Social Security program. This includes understanding how benefits are calculated, when they can be claimed, and how they can be affected by factors such as retirement age, work history, and marital status. 

To understand how Social Security benefits are calculated, it's important to know that the formula takes into account the average of your highest-earning 35 years of work, as well as the age at which you start receiving benefits. Retirees should also be aware that claiming benefits before full retirement age (which is between 66 and 67 depending on your birth year) will result in a reduction in monthly payments. 

Additionally, factors such as work history and marital status can impact your benefits, with certain spousal and survivor benefits available to eligible individuals. Understanding these basics can help retirees make informed decisions about when to claim benefits and how to maximize their overall Social Security income.

Maximize Your Benefits

Once you understand the basics, you can begin to explore strategies for maximizing your benefits. For example, delaying claiming benefits until age 70 can result in a significant increase in monthly payments. Additionally, claiming spousal benefits, taking advantage of the earnings test, and using restricted application strategies can all help retirees increase their overall Social Security income.

Delaying Social Security benefits until age 70 can result in a significant increase in monthly payments. The increase is based on your date of birth and the number of months you delay your retirement benefits. The following table explains how delayed retirement affects your benefits:

If You Start Getting Benefits At Age*

Multiply Your Full Retirement Benefit By:



70 or later


Retirees can also consider claiming spousal benefits, which may allow them to receive up to 50% of their spouse's benefit amount if it's higher than their own. Taking advantage of the earnings test may allow retirees to continue working while still receiving some Social Security benefits. 

Using restricted application strategies can help maximize benefits for married couples, allowing one spouse to claim a spousal benefit while the other delays their own benefit to maximize its value. By exploring these strategies, retirees can potentially increase their Social Security income and ensure a more comfortable retirement.

Plan Ahead

Think of your social security payments as one piece of the puzzle when it comes to retirement income. While Social Security benefits are an important component of retirement income, they are unlikely to cover all of your expenses. Especially if you are a few years away from retiring and concerned payments will run dry.

That's why it's crucial to have a comprehensive retirement plan in place that takes into account your Social Security payments, as well as any other sources of income, such as pensions, investments, and personal savings. A well-rounded retirement plan can help retirees ensure that they have enough income to cover their expenses and enjoy a comfortable retirement. 

By planning ahead, retirees can make informed decisions about when to retire, how to maximize their Social Security benefits, and how to make their retirement savings last as long as possible. 

Seek Professional Advice

With the latest news of potential changes to come to the Social Security system, navigating the complexities of Social Security can be challenging. This is why retirees should consider seeking professional advice from a trusted Fiduciary planner who excels in retirement income planning. 

At Agemy Financial Strategies, our experienced professionals can provide you with personalized guidance based on your unique financial situation. Our team strives to assist you in making educated choices regarding Social Security benefits, tax-strategizing and more. 

By working with a reputable and dependable Fiduciary planner, you can have confidence in your retirement plan and ensure that your retirement income is optimized to meet your needs.

Final Thoughts

Social Security payments can be a valuable source of retirement income for retirees, but with potential changes ahead, it's important to take luck out of the equation by understanding how the program works. 

This St. Patrick's Day, make the most out of your money by maximizing your benefits, planning ahead, and seeking professional advice with Agemy Financial Strategies.

Get started today and receive a complimentary retirement planning consultation.