Ask Karen Gibbs

Veteran business correspondent Karen Gibbs answers your personal money questions and addresses current topics that affect YOUR finances on a daily basis. Karen is the financial expert in your corner--no question is too basic or too small. Karen boils down the issues simply: here's what you need to know, and here's what you need to do. Send your money questions to and post your comments below.



Part-time Jobs & Social Security

Karen Gibbs

Hi Karen, I’m thinking about getting a part time job.  Will that affect my social security?

- Brooke, Laurel

Person's holding a calculator in front of a reportThanks for your question Brooke. Part time work, defined as less than 40 hours per week, can offer you a great way to stay active, meet people, and earn money while giving you the flexibility to enjoy an ideal work-life balance.

Keeping active in the labor market also helps you stay connected with your industry while giving you the opportunity to explore new interests.

There are some drawbacks, however.  Part time work usually doesn’t come with benefits. Pay is generally lower too. Do you receive a pension?  Make sure it won’t be subject to any fees or penalties.

What about social security? If you’re younger than full retirement age (66 if born before 1954), part-time earnings could subject your social security income to taxes. Based on recent inflation data, your 2017 social security cost of living increase will be a modest 0.3%. That’s ...

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