Social Security—Secrets to Max Out Your Future Benefits

Laura interviews a Social Security expert about how the program works and what you need to know even if you're nowhere near retirement age. They discuss who's eligible for benefits, pros and cons of taking early retirement, how to avoid expensive Social Security mistakes, and the future of the program.

Laura Adams, MBA
8-minute read
Episode #508

Social Security—Secrets to Max Out Your Future BenefitsThe Social Security program has been providing a critical financial safety net for Americans for over 80 years. It pays benefits to tens of millions who survive the death of a close family member, are disabled, or reach a set retirement age.   

The retirement benefit is the biggest part of the Social Security program, but many people don’t fully understand how it works or the role it needs to play in financial planning. Even if you’re nowhere near retirement age, this is a key topic you should get familiar with.

In my interview with Bill Rainaldi, CFP and Regional Vice President for Security Mutual Life, we discuss key points you should know about Social Security. Bill is a specialist who helps clients and financial professionals avoid mistakes and get the most out of Social Security.

Here are some of the topics we cover:

  • How much employees and those who are self-employed pay into the Social Security program 
  • Who qualifies for retirement benefits under the earnings test 
  • Pros and cons of taking early retirement benefits
  • Whether Social Security will be around to pay future benefits   
  • Tips to navigate the system and find help at different life stages

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The problem with making a bad decision about Social Security is that it affects your monthly income for the rest of your life. -- Bill Rainaldi, CFP

[Listen to the interview using the audio player in the upper right sidebar of this page or on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify]

The following tips were contributed by Bill Rainaldi, CFP, who can be reached at wrainald@smlny.com.

The 5 Most Common Mistakes When Claiming Social Security

We’ve spent many years advising clients and financial professionals on the best options when it comes to Social Security, and one thing is abundantly clear: every situation is different. And that’s a big reason so many people end up confused.

But after doing this for so long, we’ve seen some basic patterns developing. The same basic mistakes seem to repeat themselves over and over. Here are just a few of the most common.


About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a frequent, trusted source for the national media. Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers is her newest title. Laura's previous book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.

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