When it comes to planning for social security, there’s one big question that looms over the rest. Should you take your benefits now or wait and let them mature? But that’s not the only question to consider. It’s important to take these other factors into consideration as you assess your upcoming retirement.

What’s Your Life Expectancy?

Putting a number on your own mortality is a morbid thing to consider, but it can mean the difference between living on a pauper’s income and having a steady flow of cash in your later years. Inaccurate estimates on this front often cost social security recipients quality of life, and that’s why it’s important to look past the generic life expectancies when planning. Consider your current health and family histories, and be sure to factor them into your budgeting. Having to scrape together funds to make ends meet after you’ve already retired is a dire situation to be in.

Maximize the Benefits of Marriage

Being married offers you a lot more options for your social security funds, and while this can complicate the process significantly, it can also be leveraged to your benefit. Consider staggering your social security claims so that one spouse can accrue more wealth while living off the other’s income. If you really want to make the most of your social security, you’ll have to take life expectancies, benefits, and age differences into consideration and use those comparative results as a blueprint for your retirement plan.

Make the Most of Your Current Earnings

It’s no secret that your social security funds scale to the money you make, but many retirees don’t take the benefits of a higher income into proper consideration when they’re planning to leave the job market. Maximizing your earnings later in life can override lesser earnings earlier in your career, so it may be in your best interest to put your nose to the grindstone and put in as many hours as possible before retirement.