While we don't need a reason to pile our plates with buttery potatoes, sautéed cabbage, and soda bread, St. Patrick's day does offer the ideal opportunity. Comfort food in the middle of cold, dreary March? You don't have to ask us twice! (But as for green beer, we're going to put that on indefinite hold.)
Click the action button to find delicious recipes this St. Patrick's Day!
You may be entitled to more money than you think.
Preparing for retirement is becoming more difficult for millions of Americans. Many workers don't have access to a pension, increased costs of living are making retirement more expensive than ever, and student loans and other forms of debt are making it harder to save.
For those reasons, many retirees are falling back on Social Security benefits to make ends meet during their senior years. The average retiree can expect to receive more than $1,500 per month in benefits, according to the Social Security Administration, which can help them live more comfortably.
In order to be eligible for Social Security benefits, you generally need to have worked and paid payroll taxes for at least 10 years. However, there are a few ways you can collect benefits even if you've never worked a day in your life.
1. Spousal Benefits
If your spouse is eligible for Social Security benefits, you may qualify for benefits based on his or her work record -- even if you've never worked.
With spousal benefits, you can collect up to 50% of the amount your spouse is entitled to receive by claiming at his or her full retirement age (FRA). Spousal benefits do not affect the amount your spouse will receive, either. In other words, your spouse won't receive less each month if you were to claim spousal benefits based on his or her work record. To qualify for spousal benefits, you must be married and at least 62 years old. The most you can receive is 50% of your spouse's full benefit amount, and if you claim before your own FRA, you'll receive a reduced amount each month.
2. Divorce Benefits
Divorce benefits are similar to spousal benefits, except they're available to those who are no longer married. Your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years, and you cannot currently be married in order to claim divorce benefits.
Like with spousal benefits, the maximum amount you can collect is 50% of the amount your ex-spouse can receive at his or her FRA. Also, you generally cannot begin claiming divorce benefits until your ex-spouse has started claiming Social Security. The exception is if you have been divorced for more than two years. In that case, you don't need to wait for your ex-spouse to begin claiming before you're eligible for divorce benefits.
Finally, as with spousal benefits, claiming benefits based on an ex-spouse's work record will not affect his or her benefit amount. If he or she has remarried, that will also not affect your ability to collect divorce benefits.
3. Survivors Benefits
If you're financially dependent on someone and that person passes away, you may qualify for survivors benefits. Widows and widowers are generally entitled to survivors benefits after a spouse passes away. However, survivors benefits are sometimes available to parents, children, divorced spouses, and other family members as well.
How much you can receive in survivors benefits depends on several factors, including your age, the age of the person who passed away, and how many other family members are claiming survivors benefits. If you're a widow(er), and your spouse was receiving Social Security benefits, you're typically eligible to collect his or her entire benefit amount in survivors benefits as long as you've reached your FRA.
Social Security benefits can have an enormous impact on your retirement. Fortunately, you may be eligible for Social Security even if you haven't worked long enough to qualify for your own benefits. By taking advantage of any of these types of benefits, you can boost your retirement income with little to no effort. The $17,166 Social Security bonus most retirees completely over look.
If you're like most Americans, you're a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known "Social Security secrets" could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $17,166 more... each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we're all after.
When it comes to state and local taxes, retirees in these states are likely to pay more than retirees in other states.
Whether you plan to retire at the beach, near the mountains, or to some other dream destination, make sure you check out the local tax situation before packing your bags and hiring a moving van. If you don't, you might be unpleasantly surprised by a hefty state and local tax bill in your new hometown.
State and local taxes can vary greatly from one place to another. The difference can easily exceed $10,000 or more per year for some people, which is enough to break the bank for a lot of retirees. So, to avoid this kind of bombshell, make sure you do some research before settling on a new location. You can start with Kiplinger's State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees. This tool maps out the tax landscape for each state and the District of Columbia, and allows you to do a side-by-side comparison for up to five states at a time.
We also identified the 10 states that impose the highest taxes on retirees, which are listed below (we saved the worst state for last). Our results are based on the estimated state and local tax burden in each state for two hypothetical retired couples with a mixture of income from wages, Social Security, 401(k) plans, traditional and Roth IRAs, private pensions, interest, dividends, and capital gains. One couple had $50,000 in total income and a $250,000 home, while the other had $100,000 of income and a $350,000 home. Take a look to see if your state—or the state you've been dreaming about for retirement—made our "least tax-friendly" list for retirees (we hope it didn't).
Whether you're thinking of claiming Social Security in 2021 or not, the moves you make in the coming year could dictate how much money you ultimately receive from the program as a senior. If your goal is to collect the highest benefit possible, here are three important steps to take.
1. Boost Your Earnings
The higher your paycheck in 2021, the higher your monthly Social Security benefit could be. Some people think that Social Security pays a single, universal benefit to all seniors, but that's not true. Your benefits are actually based on your personal wage history. The more money you earn at each stage of your career, the higher your payout stands to be.
Of course, you can't just march into your boss's office next year and demand a raise in the hopes that it will eventually result in a higher monthly benefit. But you can boost your earnings by picking up work to do on the side. As long as you pay taxes on that income, it can count for Social Security purposes.
2. Delay your filing beyond full retirement age
You're entitled to your full monthly benefit based on your wage history once you reach full retirement age, or FRA. FRA is based on the year you were born, as follows:
If you'll reach FRA in 2021, you may be tempted to start collecting benefits. But if you hold off on filing, you'll boost your benefits by 8% a year, up until you turn 70. That increase will then remain in effect for the rest of your life, giving you a more generous benefit to enjoy.
3. Delay retirement and work an extra year
We've talked about how Social Security benefits are earnings-based. More specifically, they're calculated based on your 35 highest-paid years in the workforce. If you don't work a full 35 years, you'll have a $0 factored into your personal benefits calculation for each year you're missing an income. The more $0s you have, the lower your benefit will be.
If you're thinking of retiring in 2021, pushing yourself to work even one extra year could make a huge difference if you don't have a full 35-year work history under your belt. Even if you did work for 35 years, if you're earning a lot more now than you did earlier on in your career, replacing a year of lower earnings with a year of higher earnings could help your Social Security benefits increase. There's much to potentially be gained by putting off retirement even a little bit.
In 2021, you have a real opportunity to put yourself in a position to score a higher monthly payout from Social Security. Don't pass it up. You'll probably rely on those benefits to pay the bills or achieve your retirement goals once you leave the workforce for good. It pays to do whatever you can to snag the most generous payday possible.
The $17,166 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook.
If you're like most Americans, you're a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known "Social Security secrets" could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $17,166 more... each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we're all after. Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.
For many Americans, Social Security isn't just a paycheck they receive in their golden years. It's a much-needed financial lifeline that helps them make ends meet during retirement.
According to an April survey from national pollster Gallup, 89% of current retirees lean on their Social Security payout as either a major or minor source of income. Meanwhile, an all-time high 88% of non retirees anticipate relying on their Social Security income to some degree when they retire.
What you receive each month from Social Security can significantly impact your financial well-being. But as you're about to see, Social Security benefits can vary greatly by age.
You've worked hard all your life, and now you're retired (or will, retire soon). Unfortunately, there's a pretty good chance that Uncle Sam is going to take a cut of your 401(k), traditional IRA or pension income. But what about your state? Will it take a bite out of your retirement income, too?
A lot of people can't wait to see 2020 come to an end. But as we enter a new year and, hopefully, a more positive one on the whole, it's important to take the opportunity to set yourself up for a comfortable, secure retirement. These tips will help you plan accordingly in the coming year, as well as in the years that follow.
Should I claim my Social Security benefits now? It’s a common question, and it’s one that you’re very prudent in asking. Timing is the biggest facet in maximizing your benefits. Yet, you’ll get an array of answers on the best timing. Let’s break down three questions that will give you the most definitive answer to your question. Social Security: Timing Is A Crucial Decision.
Financial planners long have counseled retirement savers to keep a blend of bonds and stocks in their portfolios. The bonds kick off income and the stocks provide growth. That advice now looks in need of a refresh. Bond yields have been bumping around historical lows for around a decade. And stocks provided strong growth during the longest bull market in U.S. history, which ended earlier this year. Stocks have rebounded so strongly since then that they’re now expensive again, and due for a period of below-average returns. This has left retirees with some tough portfolio choices at a time when many face an income shortfall. Annuities could be a savior, many researchers say, providing stable income for retirees even if markets plummet and as lifespans lengthen.
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