10) They’ve Worked For 35 Years
This is the U.S. government’s magic number for calculating Social Security benefits. Simply, the Social Security Administration (SSA) averages your monthly earnings during the 35 years when your income was at its highest. This is another reason why working past the Full Retirement Age (FRA) is a good idea. Your salary is likely at its peak near the end of your career which boosts your average since the SSA is looking at your highest earning periods. They then adjust your wages for inflation before crunching the numbers. If you can log 35 years, it optimizes your Social Security benefits as you have consistently high numbers in each of the “boxes” being calculated. If you don’t, the government uses zeros for the number of years you’re lacking. Clearly, averaging zeros into the formula will drag down your basic benefit amount – the amount you get when you retire at full retirement age (FRA).