Retirement planning is important. While you can expect some monthly income from Social Security, these benefits may not be enough to cover all of your bills. However, there are steps you can take to secure a higher monthly Social Security benefit. And the good news? You don’t have to wait until you’re older to interact with them.
On the contrary, there are some steps you can take earlier in your career to snag a bigger Social Security payday. Here are a few worth tackling.
1. Fight for raises
The monthly Social Security benefit you’re entitled to depends on how much money you make during your 35 most profitable years of working life. If you strive to consistently fight for raises throughout your career, you can increase your wages and, in turn, secure a larger monthly Social Security benefit in retirement.
There are several ways to increase your salary. For one, keep an eye on industry trends that relate to your salary. If at any point you come across data that shows you are statistically underpaid for what you do, you can use that as fuel for your salary negotiations.
You can also work on making yourself a more valuable employee. If you build the right skills and go the extra mile, you can be consistently up for a raise year after year. And that could do wonders for your Social Security benefits.
2. Review your payslips annually
Wages you earn for Social Security purposes are summarized on an annual statement of earnings. You can and should access this declaration online and check its accuracy annually. If your wages are ever understated, it can result in lower benefits across the board.
3. Commit to a longer career
Some people plan to retire early and are committed to achieving that goal. There is definitely nothing wrong with that. But if you’re willing to commit to a longer career, it could lead to much higher achievements.
The longer you wait to apply for Social Security, the more monthly benefit you’re entitled to (although it’s worth noting that your benefits can’t increase past age 70). But working longer could also mean getting more years of income at a higher wage rate.
People often earn the most at the end of their careers when they have worked their way up the career ladder. Retiring at age 70 instead of 65 could mean five more years of income at the highest salary of your life. And that could result in you having to collect more money from Social Security.
Don’t settle for less
Even if Social Security isn’t your only source of income in retirement, it’s worth making as much money out of it as possible. By taking the above steps throughout your career, you can secure more generous benefits during your retirement—and the freedom to enjoy your old age without financial worries.