Social Security is an important part of nearly every American's retirement plan. While it likely won't be enough by itself to cover your costs in retirement, it still will provide a decent foundation. Here are three tips to increase the amount you can get from the program.
No. 1: Work longer. Social Security bases its payment for your retirement on your highest 35 years of wage earnings. Working more as a seasoned professional may erase no-income or low-income years from your early career.
No. 2: Start collecting later. The longer you wait to start collecting your Social Security checks, the bigger they will be. Between retirement age and age 70, your eventual Social Security benefits will increase by 8% for every year you delay your payout.
No. 3: Earn more. Any increase in your wage-type income up to the maximum -- currently at $117,000 -- increases your eventual benefit check, unless you already have 35 higher-income or maxed-out years on your record.
Chuck Saletta is a Motley Fool contributor. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.