Question:

Having just turned 65, I have put off drawing Social Security in order to raise my monthly amount. How does Social Security affect my retirement check? - John

Answer:

Making all the right decisions when it comes to retirement income can be a challenge, to say the least. Putting off taking Social Security to drive up the monthly benefit is generally a really good idea. So, smart move. Applying for Social Security, tapping various investment accounts and minimizing taxes are all part of the art of creating an efficient, effective and lasting income stream. Now that you’ve turned on Social Security, you need to be aware that your benefits could be taxed. Since you probably file taxes jointly with your wife, if half of your Social Security plus your other income – military retirement, retirement plan/IRA distributions, interest, dividends, etc. – exceeds $32,000, a portion of your Social Security will be included as income when you file your taxes. If you do the calculations and exceed $44,000, 85 percent of your Social Security will be included as income. That’s the bad news. The good news is that receipt of your Social Security should not impact your military retirement.