Home Personal Finance Why I’m Not Chasing a Higher Social Security Benefit

Why I’m Not Chasing a Higher Social Security Benefit

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The maximum Social Security benefit you can collect in 2024 is $4,873. And if that’s the benefit you’re in line for, you may be able to live quite comfortably on Social Security alone, even though retirees are commonly advised not to do that.

Now to be fair, if you’re in line for Social Security’s maximum monthly benefit, it means you were a pretty high earner during your career. As such, you may be used to a certain lifestyle you don’t want to compromise on in retirement, which could make an income of $4,873 a month somewhat inadequate for you.

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Of course, most Social Security recipients will not be eligible for the program’s maximum benefit. But even so, there are plenty of steps you can take to boost your benefit in the long run.

I, however, refuse to actively spend time chasing a higher monthly payday from Social Security. Instead, I’d rather focus on another step I can take to set myself up for a comfortable retirement.

Social Security’s future is somewhat unknown

Social Security is not at risk of going away. I’m not worried about the program disappearing and paying me nothing in retirement.

However, Social Security is facing a financial shortfall that could cause the program to cut benefits in as little as 10 years. So in that situation, even if I were to do everything I could to snag a certain monthly benefit, that benefit may just not be payable by the time I’m eligible to collect it.

Now even with that said, delaying a Social Security filing past full retirement age (FRA) can result in a boosted benefit. My FRA is 67, so if I wait until age 70 to claim Social Security, I’ll increase my monthly payments by 24%. Beyond age 70, you don’t get credited financially for a delayed filing.

Will filing for Social Security at 70 be doable for me? Maybe. Or maybe not. Frankly, I have no idea. So I don’t want to put that sort of pressure on myself.

I’d rather focus on saving and investing

There’s a lot about Social Security that no individual can control, such as whether benefit cuts happen. And while a delayed filing can result in a boosted benefit, holding off is not always feasible.

That’s why I prefer to focus my energy on saving for retirement and investing my portfolio wisely. These days, I do my best to max out my solo 401(k) plan. Beyond that, I also fund a taxable brokerage account that’s designated as retirement savings when the opportunity arises.

To save aggressively for retirement, I have to spend less on other things, like my home, car, and vacations. But I’m willing to make that effort for financial stability down the line.

I also do my best to research different companies and investments to build a strong portfolio. That’s time I could be spending doing more leisurely things. But again, I’m willing to make the effort.

Of course, I do plan to put plenty of thought into my Social Security filing decision once retirement age gets closer. And maybe I will delay my claim in order to get a higher benefit after all. But either way, I’m really not going to stress out about what Social Security pays me — not when I’ve been pushing myself to save and invest as aggressively as possible for retirement for so many years already.

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