Delay in receiving your social benefits
Retiring from work and starting to collect Social Security are two reasons to celebrate getting older. Even if you are able to start charging social security at the age of 62, your monthly benefits will be significantly higher if you wait until you reach your full retirement age, which varies from 65 to 67 depending on the year you are born.
For example, if your full retirement age is 67, but you start charging social security at 62, your benefits will be 30% less than they would be if you waited the additional five years. If possible, wait to start collecting until you reach your full retirement age. If you postpone the collection of social security until the age of 70, you will receive your maximum social benefits.
2. If you have already applied for social security early, consider withdrawing your claim
Did you claim your benefits early and now discover that you are shocked at the true cost of retiring on Social Security? If you have applied for social security within the last 12 months, you can withdraw your claim and start again at a later date if you want to increase your benefits. However, it is important to note that if you choose to withdraw, you must repay all the benefits you have received until then. Still, this can be worth it in the long run to be able to maximize your social security payments.
Plan your social security benefits for survivors
If you are married, it is important to discuss how to maximize social security benefits if a spouse dies. When a person dies, the widow or widower can receive the benefits of the deceased spouse instead of their own if the benefits are higher than what they received previously. So it makes sense for the more earning spouse to retire later, so when two social security checks coming to the household become only one, the surviving spouse will receive the greatest possible benefits.
4. Move to an area with lower cost of living
Your social security benefits will extend longer when your cost of living is lower. If you live in an expensive place, consider moving to a place where you can only stay on a social security check. Cities like Tuscon, Arizona and Reno, Nevada have hot weather and plenty to do for retirees, plus their cost of living is low.
Check out: 35 surprising cities with low cost of living
5. Debt repayments before you retire
To get the most out of your social security income, it is best to pay off all debts, including credit card bills and mortgages, before you retire. This way, you can focus on spending your benefits on what you need in everyday life, instead of spending it on things you bought in the past.
6. Move to a tax-friendly state
Most states and Washington, DC do not tax Social Security benefits, but you can make your benefits extend even further if you live in a state with even fewer taxes. Alaska and New Hampshire do not charge sales tax or income, and Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming have sales taxes, but do not impose state income taxes or taxes on retirement income, according to AARP.
Read more: 10 myths about early retirement
7. Get a Roommate
Sharing the cost of living with a roommate or roommate is a great way to get your money stretched further, plus it can prevent the loneliness that often comes with being a retiree. A SmartAsset study found that in some larger cities, renters who share a one-bedroom with a roommate save more than $ 800 a month compared to those who rent a one-bedroom alone. Even if you are not renting, having a roommate can lower the amount you spend on supplies, internet, cable and energy.
Take advantage of free entertainment
You do not need to use any of your social security checks to keep you busy and having fun. Go to a museum with free admission, or check out a library book to be entertained during the day. You can also attend open microphone nights at a local coffee shop or theater, which often does not charge admission. Other free activities include attending book readings, attending a lecture at a local college or university, and attending free outdoor concerts.
Of course, these benefits may have to wait until after states are fully reopened from the coronavirus shutdowns.
9. Invest in an AARP membership
An AARP membership costs $ 16 a year, but the discounts can give you the membership fee back plus more. AARP members receive savings on health and wellness expenses, restaurants, entertainment, shopping and community memberships that go beyond regular senior discounts.
Discover: How much should I retire?
10. Move to a retirement community
If you are planning to move, it may be cheaper to move into a retirement community than to buy a new home in the area. “They are often cheaper than the surrounding homes on the market, which are open to everyone,” said retirement coach Sara Zeff Geber. Plus living in a retirement community makes it easier to socialize with other people your age. However, you need to be realistic about what you can actually afford with your Social Security check, as some luxury retirees can be really expensive.
11. Go to restaurants that offer senior discounts
Living on social security will mean you have a pretty tight budget, but it’s okay to eat out once in a while – especially if you go to a restaurant that offers a senior discount. Many popular chains offer up to 25% off meals for people 55 and older, even on takeaway. For example, Chili’s offers a 10% senior discount every day, and Uno Pizzeria & Grill has a 25% discount for seniors on Wednesdays, according to TheSeniorList.com.
Educate yourself: Here’s how much restaurants label your food
12. Save while shopping
Sprucing up your wardrobe does not have to take a large part of your social security check. Many major retailers offer discounts to senior customers: Banana Republic offers a 10% discount to shoppers aged 50 and over, Kohl’s offers shoppers aged 60 and over 15% off every Wednesday, and Ross has a 10% discount on Tuesday specials for anyone aged 55 and over , according to TheSeniorList.com.
13. Do not pay too much for prescriptions
Medication costs can really increase. To save money on your prescriptions, always choose the generic one whenever possible. And consider joining a prescription membership program no matter where you purchase your medication to receive discounts and earn rewards. For example, the Rite Aid Rx Savings Program gives members a 15 percent discount or more on medications, and a 30-day delivery of most generic drugs costs only $ 9.99 with the plan.
14. Get outside
An easy way to stay active for free is to go for a daily walk or hike. Make a morning walk around your neighborhood a part of your daily routine, or visit a local hiking trail to enjoy the scenery in your area. Going for walks during periods when most people are at work saves you the hassle of dealing with crowds so you can really enjoy the peace and quiet of the outdoors.
One of the best ways to feel good is to give back to those in need. Volunteer your time for a cause that is important to you – it’s a free way to spend your time that also benefits others.
16. Go back to school
Many local colleges and universities allow seniors to take college classes for free thanks to tuition exemptions for residents 60 years and older. Although your local higher education institution does not offer tuition exemption, you may be able to check tuition for free. This means that you can attend all classes and lectures, but you will not receive credit for the classes you take. An advantage of auditing is that you do not have to deal with exams and homework.
17. Try a new training class (free)
You may not have had time to exercise regularly while working out, but now there is no excuse for not being active. Medicare members can participate in the free SilverSneakers program, which gives seniors access to over 14,000 gyms and fitness centers across the country. Not only do you have full access to participating gyms, but SilverSneakers members can enjoy free tuition at the gym and beyond. If you have never tried yoga or want to dance to health, you can do so without spending a dime.
Unfortunately, this benefit may wait until all gyms are fully open and safe to go to again.
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This article was originally published on GOBankingRates.com: 17 tips to live comfortably by Just a social security check