Money Matters: Working in retirement trims Social Security

August 4, 2017 01:30

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If you begin accepting Social Security benefits at the minimum age of 62 and continue with part-time work, you could be costing yourself more than you might think. Under what's called the earnings limit rule, any money you make over the 2017 earnings limit of $16,920 (a figure adjusted each year for inflation), will reduce your Social Security benefit. Your checks will be cut by one dollar for every two dollars you're over the limit. That penalty is reduced to one dollar for every three dollars over the limit in the year before you reach full retirement age (67-70 based on your age).

As The Motley Fool explains, someone earning income beyond the limit could find themselves receiving no Social Security benefits for a period of time each year, while the penalty is being assessed. They note that income from wages, self-employment, bonuses and commissions count toward the earnings limit, but pensions, annuities, interest, investment income, government and military retirement benefits do not. It is possible to reduce your work schedule to ensure your earnings come in just under the limit, but dipping into your savings to cover any gaps could cause problems in the long run.
 
To help your readers/listeners/viewers learn more about how Social Security benefits are calculated based on age and income, you can interview a spokesperson from the Social Security office in your state, or talk with financial planners in your area. They can do the math and explain how choosing to take Social Security benefits at different ages can impact your current and future income.

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Katie Lobosco of CNN Money entered the 2016 NEFE/RTDNA awards contest with a story about America's looming pension crisis, as some traditional retirement funds could run out of money.