Social Security Benefits Basics

It is wise for many to wait until age 70 before taking their benefit. Patience will end up paying you back in many ways over the years. The numbers reflected below identify my benefits. They are low due to the fact I have not worked 35 years. Your top 35 years go into making up your benefit. Let’s take a look.

  • Age 62: $1,005 (go to and see what your number is)
  • Age 67: $1,427 (go to and see what your number is)
  • Age 70: $1,770 (go to and see what your number is)

Taxes kick in after your AGI goes over: $25,000 (Singles), $32,000 (Joint)

  • 50%: $25,000 – $34,000 (Singles), $32,000 – $44,000 (Joint)
  • 85%: Above $34,000 (Singles), Above $44,000 (Joint)

The number you should be aware of when looking at this issue is your adjusted gross income (line 37 on your 1040 tax form). That number will include all of your income (including half of your social security check) and other income, like passive income (dividends and capital gains).

Social Security Example

Joe and Amy file a joint account, and their adjusted gross income is $70,000.They received a total of $60,000 in Social Security benefits and have no other pension income. The other $10,000 came from their investments outside of retirement accounts (dividends and capital gains).

  • They would pay no income tax on an amount below $32,000 (does not apply).
  • They would pay taxes on 50% of their Social Security benefit, if the amount fell between $32,000 and $44,000 ($8,000 of their income would be taxable in this example: $30,000 + $10,000).
  • They would pay tax on 85% of their Social Security check with an adjusted gross income above $44,000 (does not apply in this example).

Google your particular state to see how they tax Social Security benefits. Each state has different guidelines.

File and Suspend

File and suspend has been mostly eliminated, unless you are 62 or older by the end of 2015 due to new legislation passed in October 2015.

Stay updated with your Social Security benefits. They can change! Contact your local Social Security office prior to making this move to verify the benefit still exists. Make sure you have a very clear understanding on what you are doing, when you need to do it, and why you are doing it. Take control! Be wise with your Social Security benefits, and that means taking the time to understand them clearly.

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Stuff the lawyer wants me to say: Investing outside a bank or a credit union is not FDIC insured. You may lose the value in the investments you select. All information provided here is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer to buy or sell any of the securities, insurance products, or other products named. Translated: I am not selling anything! Educate yourself, research the information that you learned and finally make the right decisions that will benefit you and your family going forward.

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