What Strategies Would You Advise For Me?

Oct 24 2018 - 3:01pm

I will be retiring May 2019 after working 31 years for the State if Oklahoma and will be 56 years old. If I choose not to work after retirement, how will this affect my social security?

Can you advise me on some strategies (including going to another job) that I may want to consider?


Your Social Security retirement benefit rate will be based on your highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf). If you only end up having earnings in 31 years, 4 years would end up being averaged in as zeroes. That will drag down your average yearly earnings at least to some extent, which will in turn lower the retirement benefit rate that you might otherwise receive.

Replacing your zero earnings years with additional years of earnings would certainly increase your benefit rate somewhat. I can't tell you how much that might amount to, though, without knowing your full yearly earnings history and the yearly amount that you would earn if you returned to work. Our maximization software would allow you to calculate your estimated benefit rate based on your earnings to date, and will also allow you to enter projected earnings for future years so that you can gauge their effect on your benefit rate. The software will also permit you to explore and compare your various filing options so that you can determine the best strategy for claiming your benefits.

Best, Jerry