The 2023 maximum Social Security benefit is $4,555 per month. $54,660 per year. That breaks down to $1,051.15 weekly and $149.75 daily.
Not bad for retirement income, huh? Well, here’s why you shouldn't extend much energy pursuing the maximum Social Security benefit.
#1 If you are maximizing your earning potential to the levels needed to achieve the max SS check then you won’t need to depend on Social Security.
#2 You could miss the income requirements just one year out of the 35 required years and fail to qualify for the max benefit.
#3 Overwhelmingly, most Americans do not qualify for this $4,555 maximum.
#4 Waiting until you turn 70 is one of the strict stipulations to get the maximum Social Security benefit.
#5 The average SS benefit check amounts to $1,827 in 2023… $2,728 less than the max possible amount.
Now, should you turn your nose up at the maximum amount if you qualify? No way! The point here is that this goal is not one that should be prioritized. Because of the five reasons listed above.
If you do the right things over your career and invest wisely, you won’t need to max out your Social Security income. It simply won’t matter much.
Sure, an extra $4,555 per month would be nice and I’m certain the tiny segment of Americans receiving those monthly deposits are happy to get them. But basing your retirement strategy around Social Security maximums just isn’t efficient.
I can name nine things off the top of my head that would be a better use of your mental horsepower and planning time.
1. Tax avoidance strategy
2. Financial plan reviews every six months
3. Upgrading career skills constantly
4. Maximizing 401k contributions
5. Taking advantage of every property tax exemption possible
6. Tracking business trends that affect your company and your investments
7. Ensuring your will stays updated
8. Organizing financial records and updating beneficiaries when appropriate
9. Passive side hustle income
I heard a guy once laugh about a gentleman who was a millionaire a couple times over who was getting his Social Security checks started. This other guy says, “Why does he even need that?” Someone spoke up and said, “Well, he doesn’t but I don’t think he’s gonna refuse the payments.”
That’s the proper mindset with this maximum Social Security benefit.
Or any amount, honestly. Be glad the government has anything left to send you at this point. And focus on being the hero of your own financial story…
Max out your own investment plans and career advancement instead of concerning yourself with all the hoop-jumping to attain the Social Security max.
One more issue with the SS max. What if the goal line gets moved by Uncle Sam? Congress is going to have to make system-wide changes to Social Security to keep it intact.
So who knows what those changes might look like?
● Could be a lower maximum at some point. Cut in half perhaps.
● Stipulations could become more strict.
● Attacks on the wealthy might lead to cutting certain people out of Social Security altogether.
Just think about how a stipulation change could affect someone who was on track to receive the maximum SS benefit then the rug gets pulled out from under them late in their career.
What could you do at that point? Can’t fight city hall…
But the one thing you can do is not depend on city hall, aka the government, for your retirement.
Accept the payments they send with a smile. But from the time your first paycheck is deposited from your first job, take ownership and responsibility for your own savings, wealth-building, and ultimate retirement.
And let others worry themselves silly over what has become an archaic government retirement system.
Investment advice offered through Private Advisor Group, LLC, a registered investment advisor