- How much your monthly benefit may be at your full retirement age (between 66 and 67 for most women nearing retirement)
- How much more you might receive in monthly income if you wait until age 70 (the maximum amount)
- And, the huge drop in income if you claim your benefit at the earliest age of 62.
Take the time now to see how much your benefit could be. If you don’t have enough work history on your own record, but you are married or had been married for 10 years or longer, you are most likely eligible for a spousal benefit. If you wait until your full retirement age, you could receive 50% of your husband’s benefit (or your wife’s benefit if you are a same-sex married couple). You may also qualify for a benefit based on an ex-spouse’s work history or a widow’s benefit if your spouse predeceased you.
Social Security is an incredibly powerful resource for your retirement. In fact, it is a critical resource for the majority of women. Too many women make the mistake of thinking of it as a good source of income to start at age 62. What’s most important is thinking about how important this income will be to you when you’re 80, 90, and nearing 100. Remember that the majority of us women will be single after age 85, if not well before then. Knowing that you will have enough income to pay for all your shopping needs is something every woman should have a handle on.
People ask me all the time why planning for retirement is different for women. There is nothing different between men and women in how they should be saving or investing for retirement. We each need to save a lot and wisely choose investments. But, our days and lives are not set up in a way that accommodates either of those steps to financial success. Very often women’s work doesn’t come with a paycheck; rather, we get “paid” in hugs and kisses. And while rewarding, the kisses don’t prepare us to fund a 30-year retirement.
So, ladies, let’s get ready to own our retirement. Take a snapshot of where your financials are today, map out a plan to get you where you want to be, and stick to it. Retirement will be here before long and you’ll want to enter that phase of life with the same enthusiasm and energy that you’ve entered every other stage. Good luck!