I only have 29 work credits. Should I create self-earned income to earn the 40 credits?

Published: September 28, 2023

Full question: Hello. I am 48 years old. I currently only have 29 credits towards my benefits. I live overseas and have been filing my taxes using the foreign earned income exclusion so I almost never pay into the system. Is it in my best interests to create the minimum amount of self-earned income to pay into the system to earn just the 40 credits? Or should I be creating much more self income (like 20k a year as an example) over the next 15-20 years so I will have monthly benefit payments? I’m trying to find the optimal level . Is it better for me to just save my money and invest it instead of paying the $2000 plus in Social Security taxes for the next 15-20 years?


This is a very complicated question involving your other financial opportunities and risks. We can help you examine what your future Social Security benefit will be if you do earn the minimum 40 credits and how it will increase with future anticipated earnings. But whether you can achieve the same or better long-term financial security by investing your funds is unpredictable on that same level of certainty.

To get personalized assistance, schedule a call with an RSSA professional here.

Take care,

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