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Retirement Checklist: 6 Things To Do Before Claiming Social Security

So you're ready to take the big plunge into the golden years and retire. Congrats! This is a big step for the health and well-being of your future, which you have probably looked forward to for a very long time. Now that it's here, you can rest assured in the fact that all your hard work has paid off. You hopefully have all your 401(k), pensions, and investments ready to work for you in retirement, but there are also a few things you need to do before you start to claim your Social Security funds. Before you start claiming those funds, check these six things off your list to get it all squared away. Once completed, you'll be well-equipped to receive those funds each month to start your retirement on the right financial foot.

claiming social security checklist

Checklist Tip #1: Find Out Your Benefit Credits

This is very important to look into. Ensure you have the right credits to retire and receive Social Security. It's 40 credits. You can go to to find out if you have the right amount of credits to qualify. Basically, you need to have worked for a certain amount of time and made enough money to earn Social Security for retirement.

Checklist Tip #2: Check Up On Your Spousal Benefits

You may be able to get Social Security spousal benefits if you were married for a certain number of years. This is true even if you are divorced from that spouse. So check into the fact that you may receive better benefits from your spouse or former spouse's Social Security benefit credits.

Checklist Tip #3: Know The Application Is Online

You can complete the application for Social Security retirement benefits online at The great news is that it only takes about 15 minutes. How easy is that?

Checklist Tip #4: Make Sure You Are The Right Age

You can start to apply for Social Security retirement benefits at 61 years old and nine months, but you won't usually receive them until you are 66-67 years old, depending on when your birthdate falls in the calendar year.

Checklist Tip #5: Know That You Are Ready To Stop Work

This is an important one. Some people don't want to retire. That's completely up to your lifestyle, health, and comfort level. Know that continuing to work can affect the amount of money you receive in benefits. So, it might not be worth it to keep that part-time job if it's not going to take care of you in your later years.

Checklist Tip #6: Use The Retirement Estimator

Using an online retirement estimator can help you plan how much you will have to live on each month. Living on a fixed Social Security income is doable if you can plan and budget accordingly. It may mean downsizing your current living situation into something more financially manageable or paying off some debt before you can retire.

When you are ready to retire, if you still have questions the Social Security government site can't answer, make sure you chat with a knowledgeable financial advisor to help set up your future. That way, you can sail into your retirement years with greater ease.

Invest In a Life You Love,

Donovan Carson - founder of Carson Capital



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