A Retirement Fact Sheet

Posted by Creekmur Staff on 11:45 AM on January 30, 2020

Some specifics about the "second act."

Does your vision of retirement align with the facts? Here are some noteworthy financial and lifestyle facts about life after 50 that might surprise you. 

Up to 85% of a retiree’s Social Security income can be taxed. Some retirees are taken aback when they discover this. In addition to the Internal Revenue Service, 13 states currently levy taxes on some or all Social Security retirement benefits: Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia. (West Virginia, incidentally, is phasing out such taxation.)1

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Topics: Wealth Management, Financial Planning, IRA, Retirement, Saving, Social Security, Tax on Social Security Income, Taxes in Retirment

Social Security by the Numbers

Posted by Creekmur Staff on 8:45 AM on February 19, 2019

Facts about the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program.    

Social Security has been a pillar of retirement life for several decades, but how much do you really know about it? Here are some facts that might surprise you:

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Topics: Retirement, Social Security, Social Security income, RetirementRSS

The Case For Women Working Past 65

Posted by Creekmur Wealth Advisors on 10:00 AM on June 19, 2018

Why striving to stay in the workforce a little longer may make financial sense.

The median retirement age for an American woman is 62. The Federal Reserve says so in its most recent Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (2017). Sixty-two, of course, is the age when seniors first become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. This factoid seems to convey a message: a fair amount of American women are retiring and claiming Social Security as soon as they can.1

What if more women worked into their mid-sixties? Could that benefit them, financially? While health issues and caregiving demands sometimes force women to retire early, it appears many women are willing to stay on the job longer. Fifty-three percent of the women surveyed in a new Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies poll on retirement said that they planned to work past age 65.2

Staying in the workforce longer may improve a woman’s retirement prospects. If that seems paradoxical, consider the following positives that could result from working past 65.

More years at work leaves fewer years of retirement to fund. Many women are worried about whether they have saved enough for the future. Two or three more years of income from work means two or three years of not having to draw down retirement savings.

Retirement accounts have additional time to grow and compound. Tax-deferred compounding is one of the greatest components of wealth building. The longer a tax-deferred retirement account has existed, the more compounding counts.

Suppose a woman directs $500 a month into such a tax-favored account for decades, with the investments returning 7% a year. For simplicity’s sake, we will say that she starts with an initial contribution of $1,000 at age 25. Thirty-seven years later, she is 62 years old, and that retirement account contains $974,278.3

If she lets it grow and compound for just one more year, she is looking at $1,048,445. Two more years? $1,127,837. If she retires at age 65 after 40 years of contributions and compounded annual growth, the account will contain $1,212,785. By waiting just three years longer, she leaves work with a retirement account that is 24.4% larger than it was when she was 62.3

A longer career also offers a chance to improve Social Security benefit calculations. Social Security figures retirement benefits according to a formula. The prime factor in that formula is a worker’s average indexed monthly earnings, or AIME. AIME is calculated based on that worker’s 35 highest-earning years. But what if a woman stays in the workforce for less than 35 years?4

Some women interrupt their careers to raise children or care for family members or relatives.

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Topics: Uncategorized, Working Women, Financial Planning, Retirement, Social Security

Before You Claim Social Security

Posted by Creekmur Wealth Advisors on 1:23 PM on February 26, 2018

A few things you may want to think about before filing for benefits.

Whether you want to leave work at 62, 67, or 70, claiming the retirement benefits you are entitled to by federal law is no casual decision. You will want to consider a few key factors first.

How long do you think you will live? If you have a feeling you will live into your nineties, for example, it may be better to claim later. If you start receiving Social Security benefits at or after Full Retirement Age (which varies from age 66-67 for those born in 1943 or later), your monthly benefit will be larger than if you had claimed at 62. If you file for benefits at FRA or later, chances are you probably a) worked into your mid-sixties, b) are in fairly good health, c) have sizable retirement savings.1

If you sense you might not live into your eighties or you really, really need retirement income, then claiming at or close to 62 might make more sense. If you have an average lifespan, you will, theoretically, receive the average amount of lifetime benefits regardless of when you claim them; the choice comes down to more lifetime payments that are smaller or fewer lifetime payments that are larger. For the record, Social Security’s actuaries project the average 65-year-old man living 84.3 years and the average 65-year-old woman living 86.6 years.2

Will you keep working? You might not want to work too much, for earning too much income can result in your Social Security being withheld or taxed.

Prior to Full Retirement Age, your benefits may be lessened if your income tops certain limits. In 2017, if you are 62-65 and receive Social Security, $1 of your benefits will be withheld for every $2 that you earn above $16,920. If you receive Social Security and turn 66 this year, then $1 of your benefits will be withheld for every $3 that you earn above $44,880.3

Social Security income may also be taxed above the program’s “combined income” threshold. (“Combined income” = adjusted gross income + non-taxable interest + 50% of Social Security benefits.) Single filers who have combined incomes from $25,000-34,000 may have to pay federal income tax on up to 50% of their Social Security benefits, and that also applies to joint filers with combined incomes of $32,000-44,000. Single filers with combined incomes above $34,000 and joint filers whose combined incomes surpass $44,000 may have to pay federal income tax on up to 85% of their Social Security benefits.3

When does your spouse want to file? Timing does matter. For some couples, having the lower-earning spouse collect first may result in greater lifetime benefits for the household.4

Finally, how much in benefits might be coming your way? Visit ssa.gov to find out, and keep in mind that Social Security calculates your monthly benefit using a formula based on your 35 highest-earning years. If you have worked for less than 35 years, Social Security fills in the “blank years” with zeros. If you have, say, just 33 years of work experience, working another couple of years might translate to slightly higher Social Security income.4

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Topics: Claiming Social Security, Uncategorized, Financial Planning, Retirement, Social Security

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