Social Security: Options That Will Help You Not Entirely Depend On It

zimmytws / Getty Images/iStockphoto
zimmytws / Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s never too early to start planning for retirement. The earlier you start thinking about it, the better off you’ll be when you reach retirement age. In planning your retirement, you’re bound to talk about Social Security, and it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll use those benefits to fund your retired years.

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As long as you’ve paid into the program for at least 10 years and are at least 62 years old, you qualify for Social Security payments. Depending on your situation, you may be able to fully depend on monthly Social Security payments to pay for your retirement, but most Americans don’t seem to be leaning that way.

Whether you’re saving or haven’t quite started yet, you don’t have to depend on Social Security, and here’s why.

You Can Earn More With Retirement Accounts

Rather than rely on benefits that frequently change year to year, invest some of your money in a retirement plan. Whether that’s a traditional/Roth IRA or an employer-provided 401(k), contributing money to these accounts and allowing it to accrue over time will result in a much larger payout than can be expected from Social Security.

If you don’t have savings yet, don’t worry! A GOBankingRates survey conducted earlier this year found that 37% of Americans are in the same boat as you. But, you can start a retirement savings account online today. Any money that you’re able to save before you retire will make actually retiring that much easier.

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You Can Keep Working

People are living longer, and it seems that our knowledge of healthcare is only improving. Nowadays, it’s not unexpected for adults to work past age 65. If you decide to continue working as you get older, you won’t have to wait on Social Security payments. With an income, retirees are able to do more and save more.

Many Americans are planning to either retire past 65 years old or not retire at all, which means more Americans in the workforce later in life. But you don’t have to work full-time. Retirees are opting for side gigs and part-time jobs so that they still have time to enjoy their retirement.

You Can Consider Relocating

Some cities have a cheaper cost of living than others. It’s important to consider not only when you retire, but where. If you’re able to retire somewhere where your nest egg or paycheck will stretch farther, it might be worth it to make the move. There are a number of great cities where you can retire on a budget of only $1,800 a month. On the other hand, you can also find areas to avoid where the cost of living is too expensive. Do your research, and talk to a financial advisor. And note that state taxes can have a larger impact on your bank account than you might expect.

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This article originally appeared on Social Security: Options That Will Help You Not Entirely Depend On It