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 3 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 $0 or low-income early career years.
No. 2: Start collecting later. The longer you wait to start your Social Security check, the bigger it will be, up until you reach age 70. If you haven't yet reached age 70, it's an 8% per year increase for delaying between your full retirement age and age 70.
No. 3: Earn more. Any increase in your wage-type income up to the max -- currently at $117,000 -- increases your eventual benefit check unless you already have 35 higher-income or maxed-out years on your record.