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6 Things To Do Before Claiming Social Security

Retirement Planning Social Security

So you're ready to take the big plunge into the golden years and retire. Congrats! This is a big step for the health and well being of your future, which you have probably looked forward to for a very long time. Now that it's here, you can rest assured in the fact that all your hard work has paid off. You hopefully have all your 401(k), pensions, and investments ready to work for you in retirement, but there are also a few things you need to do before you start to claim your Social Security funds. Before you start claiming those funds be sure you check these six things off of your list to get all squared away. Once completed you'll be well-equipped to receive those funds each month to start your retirement off on the right financial foot. 

Checklist Tip #1: Confirm Your Benefit Credits

This is very important to look into. Make sure you have the right number of credits to retire and receive Social Security. It's 40 credits. You can go to ssa.gov to find out if you have the right amount of credits to qualify. Basically, you just need to have worked for a certain amount of time and made enough money to earn Social Security for retirement. 

Checklist Tip #2: Check On Your Spousal Benefits

You may be able to get Social Security spousal benefits as well if you were married for a certain number of years. This is true even if you are divorced from that spouse. So check in to the fact you may receive better benefits in your spouse or former spouse's Social Security benefit credits. 

Checklist Tip #3: Know The Application Is Online

You can complete the application for Social Security retirement benefits online at ssa.gov and the great news is that the application only takes about 15 minutes. How easy is that?

Checklist Tip #4: Make Sure You Are The Right Age

You can start to apply for Social Security retirement benefits at 61 years old and nine months, but you won't receive your full benefits usually until you are 66-67 years old depending on when your birth date falls in the calendar year. 

Checklist Tip #5: Know That You Are Ready To Stop Work

This is an important one. Some people don't want to retire. That's completely up to your lifestyle, health, and comfort level. Know that continuing to work can affect the amount money-wise you receive in benefits. So it might not be worth it to keep that part-time job if it's not going to take care of you in your later years. 

Checklist Tip #6: Use The Retirement Estimator

Using an online retirement estimator can go a long way into planning how much you are going to have to live on each month. Being on a fixed Social Security income is doable if you are able to plan and budget accordingly. It may mean downsizing your current living situation into something more financially manageable or paying off some debt before you are able to retire. 

When you are ready to retire, if you still have questions the Social Security government site can't answer for you, may sure you chat with a knowledgeable financial advisor to help you set up your future. That way you can sail into your retirement years with greater ease.


  • This material is intended to be educational in nature, and not as a recommendation of any particular strategy, approach, product or concept for any particular advisor or client. These materials are not intended as any form of substitute for individualized investment advice.  The discussion is general in nature, and therefore not intended to recommend or endorse any asset class, security, or technical aspect of any security for the purpose of allowing a reader to use the approach on their own.  Before participating in any investment program or making any investment, clients as well as all other readers are encouraged to consult with their own professional advisers, including investment advisers and tax advisors.  Faithful Steward Wealth Advisors can assist in determining a suitable investment approach for a given individual, which may or may not closely resemble the strategies outlined herein.
  • Some information in this blog post is gleaned from third party sources, and while believed to be reliable, is not independently verified. The statements contained herein are based upon the opinions of Faithful Steward Wealth Advisors.
  • This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.