Making the Most of Your Social Security Benefits

Social Security forms
Social Security forms

It was too good to last. For years, I (and every other financial expert on the planet) was able to tell people that they could tap Social Security at age 62, pay the money back later on – no interest required – and draw a higher payout years down the road. It was perfect. In effect, a no-cost loan from the government, making up for all those years you let Uncle Sam hang on to more of your tax dollars than he was entitled.

Well, those days are gone – or at least they've been minimized. New rules from the Social Security Administration put a cap of a single year on the amount of time you have to apply, pay back and apply again. It's not worth the trouble. But strategizing to get the most you possibly can from Social Security – a key part of most retiree's paychecks – is worth more time and energy than many people give it. Here are a few tactics to keep in your back pocket: