Earning a high income doesn’t automatically translate into high net worth. In some cases, high earners simply spend more and end up with fewer assets than more moderate earners. This situation can result from status seeking and inability to delay gratification. But sometimes, high earners with exceptional professional skills have average or below-average understanding of personal finance. In his book, The White Coat Investor (and his website of the same name), James Dahle, MD, seeks to educate physicians (who are generally high earners) on personal finance and investing so that they can enjoy the fruits of their valuable knowledge and life-saving labor.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been updating my portfolio. The good news is that I locked in a gain with NVDA by selling 100 of my shares for $212 per share, which I had bought at an average price of $25 about two years ago. The bad news is that I lost money on other investments. I sold shares in a few stocks that had declined in price and didn’t seem to hold potential for gain even when priced low. The good part of my bad moves is that I’ve honed my ability to know what not to buy when investing.
Recently, my husband posed this question: “can I work and collect Social Security benefits?” I didn’t know the answer at the time but discovered that, in general, “yes.” But a more important question is: “should I work and collect Social Security retirement benefits?” The response to this question requires additional research.
For the scope of this article, I won’t delve into the nuances of how working could enhance a sense of well-being and purpose or how the costs associated with working (commuting expenses, for example) might detract from its financial value. Instead, I’ll consider how working while collecting benefits could affect 1) monthly paychecks received in the present; 2) Social Security retirement benefits in the future; and 3) income taxes.