I work 28 hours a week and collect Social Security. I am single, living alone and this is the only money that comes in. Here’s I came to this decision:
I moved to this area 3 years ago, after getting a job as a department head in a grocery store. I stuck with this job for 2 years. I actually did a “take this job and shove it”, and I’ve never regretted it. Another story for another time.
I was lucky to have gotten that job when I was 61 years old. They were lucky to have me! But there I was, 63 and needing a job again. I honestly felt that my age would be a barrier this time, so I made the decision to take early social security and find a part-time job, which I did rather quickly – 20 hours a week. Being a stay-at-home mom for a good share of my life, I hadn’t paid in a lot to SS, but it was enough for me to get $744/month.
I have a budget / cash flow statement on the desktop of my computer that I put 6 months out. I used it religiously. I check my bank account and make adjustments. You can download it here:
Simply plug in your own numbers. The formulas will populate the cells.
As stated earlier, I started out at 20 hours a week. After a few weeks, I offered to work 25 hours to help get them caught up. Eventually they offered me full-time work. I had made a mistake when I calculated how much SS I would get. I knew that it would be reduced if I made over a certain amount of money in a year. For 2018, it’s $17,040. In the fall of 2017, when I was still working part-time, I called SS and told them how much I estimated I would earn in 2018. It was about $22,000. For every $2 that you earn over $17,040, they take $1 back. I had thought the reduced amount would be spread out over 2018, but it’s not. It’s taken off the top. So I was faced with no SS for the first 4 months of 2018. Working PT just wouldn’t cut it! I accepted the full-time work. The money and the benefits were crucial.
One day, about 3 months in, I realized that I couldn’t focus on anything that was important to me. I was working 40 hours at a job that didn’t feed my soul. At 64, I felt great and I also felt that the next years of my life could be my happiest. But only if I got back to doing the things that make me happy. I chose to go back to part-time work, and I needed to do it NOW, before I made too much money and I had the same problem next year.
I gave up security to live my life in a way that works for me. I’m only 2 weeks in. I know enough to know it might be tough. Time will tell. For now, I’m happy.