Here’s How to Blow Past the Average $1,559 Monthly Social Security Check

October 29, 2021 Topic: Social Security Blog Brand: Politics Tags: Social SecurityBenefitsRetirementSenior Citizens

Here’s How to Blow Past the Average $1,559 Monthly Social Security Check

There are simple ways to maximize your Social Security checks. 

For tens of millions of American seniors who hope to have a comfortable retirement, every single dollar is precious.

That’s why it is incredibly important to make the right decisions at the right time regarding one’s Social Security benefits. A simple mistake could cost a senior tens of thousands of dollars. 

However, according to the financial site The Motley Fool, the bad news is that the monthly Social Security retirement benefit currently only comes in at a measly $1,559, amounting to roughly $18,700 annually.

“Chances are, that’s not looking like a perfectly sufficient annual income on which to live in retirement,” the site writes. “The good news is that you can, and should, supplement that with other income streams, such as retirement accounts, annuities, dividend-paying stocks, and perhaps even a pension, among other things.”

For those who are aiming to get their hands on more than just the average Social Security check, here are three helpful tips.

Delay Filing

It appears that the biggest decision one can make to net a higher monthly payout is to wait until turning seventy to file for Social Security benefits. “Workers planning for their retirement should be aware that retirement benefits depend on age at retirement. If a worker begins receiving benefits before his/her normal (or full) retirement age, the worker will receive a reduced benefit. A worker can choose to retire as early as age sixty-two, but doing so may result in a reduction of as much as thirty percent. Starting to receive benefits after normal retirement age may result in larger benefits. With delayed retirement credits, a person can receive his or her largest benefit by retiring at age seventy,” the Social Security Administration (SSA) notes.

Earn More While Working

Do keep in mind that Social Security benefits are primarily based on lifetime earnings. So, it’s best to always try to beef up one’s annual income. “If you’re not earning that much more than you have in the past, you can … juice your earnings for a few years or a lot of years by taking on a side gig or two. Think about ways you could generate more income that seem at least a little appealing. Maybe drive for a ride-sharing service on the weekends? Rent out your home or apartment now and then? Make and sell things online—like jewelry, crocheted items, candles, photographs, etc.? Do some freelance or contractor work? There are many possibilities,” the financial site writes.

Have a High-Earning Spouse

Spouses can have a huge impact on how much a senior will receive in their Social Security checks. This is true “when you're both receiving benefits, they will be more sizable due to your spouse’s bigger checks. If your partner dies before you, your household will go from two Social Security checks to just one—but you won’t be stuck with your smaller one. You’re allowed to start receiving the larger of the two from that point on,” writes The Motley Fool

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Image: Reuters