Timing Your Earnings in Retirement to Optimize Your Social Security Retirement Benefit

If you work after you begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits, all or part of your retirement benefit may be withheld if your earnings exceed the retirement earnings exempt amount. However, excess earnings won't affect your benefit once you reach full retirement age, and it's possible to time your earnings in retirement in order to optimize your benefit.

Who can benefit from using this strategy?

If you're under full retirement age and earn more than the annual retirement earnings test exempt amount by working after you retire, you may benefit from timing your earnings in retirement.


By postponing or bunching your earnings in retirement, you may be able to avoid earning more than the retirement earnings test exempt amount. By timing when you first begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you may be able to lessen the impact of earned income on those benefits.

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