“Of all the hazards, fear is the worst” – Sam Snead

Social Security benefits for about 60 million retired and disabled workers and their dependents will increase slightly in 2017, but for many beneficiaries, the minuscule 0.3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be wiped out by higher Medicare premiums.

Whether you are receiving monthly checks or still paying in, inform yourself of these adjustments.

Most of you have heard of the forfeit when you work while collecting benefits during the years prior to full retirement age.  Social Security recipients who collect benefits before their full retirement age will be able to earn more in 2017 without losing benefits due to excess earnings.  In 2017, beneficiaries who are under full retirement age for the entire year can earn up to $16,920 without losing any Social Security benefits, up $1,200 from last year.  If they earn more than that, they will forfeit $1 in benefits for every $2 earned over that limit.  Any benefits lot to the earnings cap are restored at full retirement age in the form of larger monthly benefits, so you do recapture your hard earned dollars eventually.

Individuals who turn 62 this year can collect 74.2% of their full retirement age benefit, compared to 75% for someone whose full retirement age is 66.  A spousal benefit is only worth 34.6% of a worker’s primary insurance amount if claimed at age 62, compared to 35% for someone whose full retirement age is 66.  Each year you wait to claim and collect benefits, up to age 70, will increase the monthly payout roughly 8%.  Two months have been added to the full retirement age as well.  Anyone born between 1943 and 1954 will reach full retirement at age 66 and 2 months.  In my opinion, we need a lot more than that to fix the shortfall in the general fund that is rapidly heading towards insolvency.

Talk to a professional about your social security retirement plans.  If you are unsure about when to file for your Social Security Retirement benefits, who should file and when, give us a call.  Often times the decision for how to time your social security benefits depends on your other sources of retirement income, which we can help bring clarity to your situation.  We always recommend doing your own research at the source: SSA.

Blake Parrish
Senior VP, Portfolio Manager
Phone: (503) 619-7237
E-mail: blake@bpfinancialassoc.com

Certified Financial Planner Boardof Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.”