Surprise test! What is the average Social Security retirement benefit size? Do you know? Do you want to guess? It was recently $1,559 a month – or about $18,700 a year. If that doesn’t sound like much to you, you’re right – it isn’t. Consider, for example, that the federal poverty level threshold for individuals in 2021 is just $12,880, and the minimum for couples is $17,420 — not far from the average for Social Security benefits. In fact, Social Security only provides about 40% of pre-retirement income to those with roughly average incomes.
Clearly anything we can do to make benefit checks bigger is worth considering – especially those things that are done well before retirement. Here are five ways to enhance these benefits.
1. Work longer
For starters, consider working longer than you plan to work – if you can. This offers multiple advantages: For one thing, the longer you work, the shorter your retirement, which means your nest egg will have to support you for fewer years. Working longer also means you may be able to make more money for retirement – so with a bigger nest egg that will support you for fewer years, you’ll be in a better financial position when you retire.
You may also be able to stay on your employer’s health care plan for longer, which can save you a lot of money. (Remember that for many people, healthcare cost It is one of the biggest expenses in retirement.)