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For most Californians, Social Security makes up an important chunk of their retirement income, so avoiding costly errors now can make a huge difference in how you will live once you retire. A recent CBS MoneyWatch report lists four costly mistakes you should avoid in order to maximize your Social Security benefits:</p>

Taking benefits too early. The poor economy has forced many to take their retirement benefits the minute they turned 62, but you can significantly boost your retirement income if you wait until at least age 66 – age 70 is even better. Experts recommend finding any paying job that will give you the same income as retirement benefits to stave off having to take Social Security until at least age 66.

Taking Social Security benefits now because of anticipated changes. Many people panic thinking Social Security benefits will run out before they reach full retirement age, so they file early. The fact is, Social Security is projected to have the same benefit levels for the next 20 years and any reforms made by Congress will impact younger generations, not current retirees.

Not coordinating benefits with your spouse. If both spouses will be claiming benefits, it pays to optimize those benefits by starting Social Security payouts at different times rather than at the same time, as is usually the case. Try to delay benefits as long as possible for the highest wage earner.

Under-reporting income if self-employed. A lot of self-employed people under-report their taxable income, or maximize deductions to achieve the same goal. However, this can hurt you when it comes time to take Social Security benefits, making it inevitable that you will have to keep working when you want to retire.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.