How to Beat the Average $1,661 Monthly Social Security Benefit – Buffalo News

Storyteller and entertainer Garrison Keillor is famous for his tales of Lake Wobegon “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” Most of us like to think we’re above average in many regards — our looks, our driving, our IQ, and more.

We can’t change some things about ourselves, like our IQs, in order to be above average, but other things we can — and here’s an important example: Social Security benefits. The average monthly Social Security retirement benefit was recently just $1,661 per month, or about $20,000 annually.

Image source: Getty Images.

Fortunately, there are some things that you can do that might make your benefits more than that. Here are three.

1. Delay starting to collect your benefits

For starters, you can delay starting to collect your benefits. Each of us has a “full retirement age” (FRA), which is 66 or 67 or somewhere in between for most of us. It’s the age at which we can start receiving the full benefits to which we’re entitled, based on our earnings record. We can start collecting as early as age 62, though, and as late as age 70.

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