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Money Smart: Maximizing your Social Security benefits

Strategize to maximize your social security benefits. A financial expert breaks down what to do today to make a big difference for your future.

SAN ANTONIO — When people retire and don't have any income, it's easy to make mistakes that can cost you when it comes to receiving Social Security income.

Financial advisor Karl Eggerss of Covenant says there are three big mistakes he sees his clients make.

The first is drawing out social security too early. Technically, you can draw out social security as early as age 62, but the amount you receive goes up by 8 percent each year you delay.

"Imagine getting an 8 percent raise by deferring them. So what happens is people take their social security at age 62, and fast forward a few years and it doesn't feel like that big of a check," Eggerss said.

Eggerss also says it is important to build a plan when budgeting with social security.

"You have to look at everything else going on in your life. Do you have a spouse, are you still working or not, these are things to take into consideration so you can't just look at it in a vacuum. You have to look at it as a comprehensive plan," Eggerss advises.

The third tip is to make sure you check your earnings history. Anyone can view their earnings history on ssa.gov. The list includes all earnings, going all the way back to your first job. Everyone's social security benefits are based on how much they earned over a lifetime.

"Definitely go check that, and you will get updates periodically. Make sure your earnings are calculated correctly because it will affect you when you go to get those benefits."

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