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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.

The average monthly Social Security retirement benefit rose to $1,827 in January, which isn’t going to buy you a luxurious retirement.

But those monthly checks can certainly make your golden years more comfortable.

Deciding when to take Social Security is a complicated piece of retirement planning.

Some people opt to start benefits sooner and take smaller checks, while others try to hold out for the biggest check.

If you’re in the latter camp, we’ll discuss some strategies for how to maximize your Social Security benefits.

7 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits

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We’re going to be honest: There are no easy shortcuts that will get you more Social Security benefits.

Any strategy that will boost your benefits boils down to: Work longer. Earn more money. Wait as long as possible.

One thing we want to make clear, though: Don’t count on Social Security cost-of-living adjustments to make much difference.

Benefits increase at a snail’s pace compared to the actual costs of living for older adults. The 2023 Social Security COLA was 8.7%, which may sound generous, but it came at a time of soaring inflation.

1. Work at least 35 years

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