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Retirement Planning/Freelancing during retirement

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QUESTION: Hello. I will turn 63 on June 15, 1915. I have worked as a freelance proofreader/editor for several companies for the past 15 years. I am considering retiring either now or (to make it simpler) effective January 2016. After I retire, I thought I would be able to work as much as I want as a freelancer (until I reach $15,720, after which I would lose $1 for every $2 I earned). However, I have been told that, as a freelancer, I can only work less than 39 hours per month. Some months I work much more than that and some months much less, depending on what work I can get. I have gotten contradictory responses from the SSA when I asked about this. How would the rules apply to my situation? Thank you.

Richard E. Reyes, CFP
Richard E. Reyes, CFP  
ANSWER: Earned income is earned income is earned income whether its from a job or net earnings if you are self-employed. As long as you follow the limits, you should be OK.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Your answer is the same answer that one person at the SSA gave to me when I called. On their Web site, however, is a brochure explaining working while retired that states "Also, if you’re self-employed, we consider how much work you do in your business to determine whether you’re retired. One way is by looking at the amount of time that you spend working. In general, if you work more than 45 hours a month in self-employment, you’re not retired; if you work less than 15 hours a month, you’re retired. If you work between 15 and 45 hours a month, you won’t be considered retired if it’s in a job that requires a lot of skill, or you’re managing a sizable business." That is what scares me, as I don't want any surprises. I also found a site saying that the earnings limit can be gotten around by forming an S-corporation and taking out the earnings as a salary from it. What are your thoughts about these? Thanks again.

Answer
Richard E. Reyes, CFP
Richard E. Reyes, CFP  
Think about it, if you are self-employed how does SSA know how much hours you worked?

I would recommend that you also go to a Certified Financial Planner in your area who is well informed on Social Security and how it goes together with your other assets. Most people, although it may be practical at the time, make a HUGE mistake taking Social Security early.  

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Richard E. Reyes, CFP

Expertise

I can provide answers to questions relating to retirement especially relating to; income distribution, tax efficiency, long-term care insurance, life insurance, estate planning, asset protection, variable and fixed annuities, alternative investments and prudent portfolio design.

Experience

Through the years Richard has built a reputation as one of Central Florida's expert on retirement income distribution by providing sound, unbiased wealth coaching. We believe that Financial Planning is the problem and Wealth Coaching is the solution. The Wealth Coaching process gives you Peace of Mind, so you can stop worrying about your future. It helps you find happiness as it guides you in the TRUTH of investing, by teaching you how to make wise choices as you journey through your life’s stages. It is all about your relationships and what you value, not your net worth.

Publications
Seminole Success Magazine “Retirement Planning” Seminole Success Magazine “Small Business Snapshot” The Orlando Sentinel – Ask the Expert Financial Section (Various) Greater Orlando Broker Agent Magazine “The New It” Senior Market Advisor “Random Reader, Random Questions”

Education/Credentials
B.S. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
CFP Certificate, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

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