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benefits

5 Things You Need to Know About Social Security

By | 2019, Money Moxie, Newsletter | No Comments

1) The age you start taking benefits matters

You can start Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but that may not be your best option. If you take Social Security before your full retirement age, the amount you get per month will be reduced. For most people, full retirement age is between ages 66 and 67, depending on when you were born. If you take benefits at age 62, you will only get about 70% of your full benefit. This also works the other way around. If you wait until 70, your benefit will grow 8% per year until age 70. This can be a great way to maximize the benefit you get from Social Security.

2) You may be eligible for a benefit under your spouse’s record

If you don’t qualify for Social Security benefits from your own work record, you may qualify for a spousal benefit. If you are married and your spouse qualifies for Social Security, you are eligible to receive half of your spouse’s Social Security amount along with your spouse receiving their own full amount.

3) Your Social Security may be taxed

Up to 85% of your Social Security could be taxable, depending on what your income is. To figure this out, take half of your Social Security and add that amount to any other taxable income you may have. That includes any money you’re taking out of tax-deferred retirement accounts. If that number is above $34,000 for single filers or $44,000 for married filing jointly, then 85% of your Social Security will be taxed.

4) Social Security was not meant to be the main source of retirement income

The government did not originally intend Social Security to fully replace income for every retiree. It was only ever meant to be a supplement and cover less than half of your income needs. This means you need to make sure your savings for retirement are adequate, so you have enough income in retirement.

5)Social Security is not going bankrupt

Social Security isn’t going bankrupt, but things will likely be changing. Estimations say the Social Security trust fund reserves will be depleted by 2034 unless changes are made. There have been many proposed solutions. None of them are particularly attractive, but something must be done. While nothing is official yet, here are some possible solutions:
-Raising the full retirement age
-Raising the amount of income subject to Social Security tax (currently at $132,900)
-Raising the Social Security tax rate
-Reducing cost of living adjustments, which help Social Security keep pace with inflation
-Reducing benefit amounts

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Women in Transition

By | 2017, Money Moxie | No Comments

For women, it’s sometimes hard to balance the nurturing desire to take care of someone else when in reality, we may need to take care of ourselves. This is often true when facing life transitions. It’s at these times when we have to put ourselves first, at least, until we become comfortable with the change.

Throughout life, we face events that result in transition. Some are planned and some are unexpected. How we prepare for these events can help reduce some of the financial and emotional stress.

Over the next few Money Moxie® issues, we will discuss some important life transitions and provide guidance to help smooth out the bumps. In this issue, we will focus on women who have left the workforce and are now ready to jump back in.

Reentering the workforce
Women often follow a different path than men when it comes to a career. Many get a degree or special training and begin a career only to leave the workforce to raise a family or because their income is not necessary to the family’s financial situation.

While you have been off the career path, things have changed. Yes, remember that old fax machine? Well, for most companies it’s in the corner collecting dust. The business world has been moving forward at a breakneck pace; even those of us living in it day-to-day have a difficult time keeping up.

Software and websites you may have used just a few years ago have been updated and changed. Passwords are your new best (or worst) friend–and you need a separate one for each site. These should be changed every 90 days.

In order for you to reach your marketable potential, you are going to need to brush up on your skills. Find out what programs are in demand for the position you are seeking and learn more about them. Webinars and online tools make this relatively easy.

Getting paid what you are worth
Don’t sell yourself short. Make sure you are getting paid what you are worth. Check out websites that show average salary ranges or pay scales in your geographical location for your occupation. Know before you enter an interview how much you can expect to be compensated. Maybe it’s time to hone your negotiation skills.

Sing your own praises. Be prepared to articulate your strengths and specific achievements. Express the unique skills and qualities you bring to the table. Avoid the temptation to accept the first salary or pay offered–be prepared to counteroffer.

Be sure to consider other tangible and intangible benefits such as: bonuses, career opportunities, flexible schedule, and supportive culture.

Maximize your benefits
As a woman who has been out of the workforce, you may have some catching up to do when it comes to retirement savings. Employees are often told to get the maximum company match, which is good. Think bigger!

While the match is a great benefit, that alone may not be enough for you to reach your financial goals and live comfortably in your retirement years. Seek professional advice regarding your future retirement picture and invest with purpose and an achievable goal.

Talk to one of our wealth advisors; we can provide guidance regarding your personal situation and the options available to you.

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