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Social Security: 3 Things That Affect the Size of Your Benefits

If you're like most Americans who are approaching retirement age, then you've paid into the Social Security system for decades. With this in mind, you'd be excused for wanting to maximize how much you get in return once you become eligible for payouts. But how do you do this?

It turns out there are three factors that affect the size of your Social Security benefits. First and foremost, your benefits are a function of how much eligible income you earned during your working life. Second, they rise or fall depending upon when you elect to receive them. And third, before attaining normal retirement age, benefits are reduced if other income sources exceed a specific threshold.

Suffice it to say, understanding how these variables affect you is critical to ensuring a comfortable retirement. To learn more about the topic, check out the following video, in which Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield discusses the ins and outs of maximizing your Social Security benefits.

How to get even more income during retirement
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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2014, at 6:07 PM, bsteaves wrote:

    One Social Security benifit denied to thousands of American is access to the Social Security web site.

    Their only mistake- they live overseas. BTW the IRS

    web site is fully functional overseas.

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John Maxfield
JohnMaxfield37

John has been writing for The Motley Fool since 2011. As a senior banking analyst, he covers the financial industry and the nation's largest banks in particular. He has a bachelor's degree in economics from Lewis and Clark College and a juris doctorate from Southern Methodist University. He's a licensed attorney in the state of Oregon, and resides in Portland with his wife and twin sons. View John Maxfield's profile on LinkedIn

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