If you are looking to maximize your Social Security, the best time to start looking at it isn’t once you’ve retired – it’s right now. Here are a few steps:

  1. Understand how Social Security works. Your Social Security payout is figured by averaging your highest 35 years of work. If you work less than 35 years, those missing years are counted as a zero.
  2. Know what you will get. Create an account at SSA.gov and find out what you’ll be receiving. If it isn’t enough to live on in retirement, then start saving to make up the difference.
  3. Know when to withdraw. You can start taking benefits at age 62, but waiting can really pay off. Waiting until age 70 can increase your monthly check by 30%. Knowing when to begin withdrawing can be tricky, as the true answer varies from person to person and couple to couple. It’s a good idea to seek professional help for the best steps to take.

Professionals can use computer models to help determine the perfect time to begin withdrawing retirement savings such as Social Security, so as to make sure all financial goals can stay in line.

While Social Security isn’t rocket science, there are some definite steps you can take today to increase your future payout, putting potentially thousands of additional dollars in your pocket over time.