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5 Social Security Mistakes You Probably Don't Even Realize You're Making – The Motley Fool

We all make mistakes. We make non-financial ones, such as brewing caffeinated coffee in the evening when we meant to brew some decaf, and financial ones, such as not saving and investing enough to build a good chest for retirement. that shortchanges our comfort in retirement is a mistake we make to social security. That's dangerous, since fully 48% of elderly were social security beneficiaries and 69% of unmarried ones get 50% or more of their income from it, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

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Image: Getty Images.

You may be making one or more without knowing it.

No. 1: Not setting up my "Social Security" account

You have already set up my "Social Security" account at the SSA website, you should – for several reasons. First, where you can look up estimates of your future benefits at any time and see the SSA's record of your income and taxes paid into the Social Security system.

It's also good to set up this account as soon as possible because if you don't, an identity thief might. That's one way that crooks are causing massive headaches for many Americans – posing as online and trying to get their Social Security benefits.

No. 2: Not checking your earnings history

You are at your social security account, look at your income over your entire working life and see if it looks correct. If you keep good records, you may actually be able to check it closely.

It's smart to review the record every now and then that you can spot any possible errors and have them fixed. If the record reflects all your earnings, when it comes time to calculate (and pay!) Your benefits, you'll get shortchanged.

No. 3: Not knowing your "full retirement age"

You should also find out your "full" retirement age. That's the age at which you can start collecting the full benefits to which you are entitled. It's important to know that you are likely to be part of any social security strategy. The full retirement age was formerly age 65 for everyone, but it's now 66, 67, or somewhere in between for most people:

Birth Year

Full Retirement Age

1937 or earlier



65 and 2 months


65 and 4 months


65 and 6 months


65 and 8 months


65 and 10 months




66 and 2 months


66 and 4 months


66 and 6 months

1958 [19659017] 66 and 8 months


66 and 10 months

1960 and later


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