Your 70th birthday is a milestone worth celebrating. And if it's arriving in the coming year, here are a few financial matters worth contemplating.
1. You shouldn't put off Social Security any longer
Many seniors sign up for Social Security well in advance of 70. In fact, you're allowed to start claiming benefits as early as age 62, and once you reach full retirement age, which is either 66, 67, or 66 and a certain number of months, you'll be entitled to your full monthly Social Security benefit based on your earnings record.
But if you're nearing 70 and haven't yet taken benefits, it means you've done a great job of accruing delayed retirement credits and boosting your Social Security income by 8% a year since full retirement age. That's huge.
But while delaying benefits is a smart move, it pays to claim them as soon as you turn 70. The reason? Delayed retirement credits stop accruing at 70, so there's no financial incentive not to claim your benefits at that point. And while the Social Security Administration (SSA) will pay up to six months of retroactive benefits if you don't sign up exactly at 70, you should make a point to file immediately to get the money you're entitled to.
2. You'll need to start paying attention to required minimum distributions
Unless your retirement savings are housed in a Roth IRA, you'll need to start worrying about required minimum distributions, or RMDs, once you turn 70 1/2. The good news, however, is that you don't have to take an RMD at 70 1/2, so you get a little more time to let your money grow. Rather, your first RMD is due by April 1 of the year following the year you turn 70 1/2.
Here's what that means: If you'll be 70 1/2 at any point in 2020, your first RMD will be due by April 1, 2021. And if you're not turning 70 until later in the year, you won't have to worry about RMDs until April of 2022. But you should read up on RMDs and make sure you take your withdrawals when you're supposed to. If you don't, you risk a 50% penalty on whatever amount you fail to remove from your savings.
3. You may not be ready to retire just yet
Americans are living longer these days. The SSA estimates that a man reaching 65 today will live, on average, until age 84, while a 65-year-old woman today will live, on average, until 86 1/2. Not only that, but about one in three 65-year-olds will live past age 90, and one in seven will live past 95.
The point? If you're still working at 70, and you enjoy what you do, you may want to keep at it a bit longer. Holding down a job won't hurt you from a Social Security standpoint, because once you reach full retirement age, you can collect your full monthly benefit regardless of what your paycheck from work looks like. And, working longer could let you off the hook with regard to RMDs if your savings are in a 401(k) plan sponsored by the company you're employed by (assuming you don't own 5% or more of that company).
Age 70 is a big birthday, so as you gear up for it, be sure to give your finances a solid review. A few smart moves on your part could help you enjoy your year even more.