Savvy Social Security Planning

Upcoming Events

What Baby Boomers Need to Know

To Maximize Retirement Income

 

  Social Security benefits, claiming strategies, maximize income, spouses, men, women, divorce, widow

  

 

When it comes to people’s Social Security benefits and how they’re determined, most people feel completely in the dark. 

In fact, only 9% of consumers believe they are very knowledgeable about how Social Security benefits are determined, while just 1% of certified financial planners think their clients are knowledgeable about claiming benefits, according to a new survey released by the Financial Planning Association and AARP.  

Yet, deciding when and how to claim Social Security benefits is one of the most critical decisions you will ever make. Making the right decision can potentially boost lifetime retirement income by tens of thousands of dollars for individuals and even more for married couples.  It is a once-in-a-lifetime decision with huge financial consequences and an essential building block to planning a secrue retirement.

Making the right choice takes on added importance as a result of increased longevity, disappearing pensions, increasing healthcare costs, historically low interest rates, erratic stock market returns, and other major risks1 facing retirees. 

Married couples have the most flexibility when it comes to coordinating their Social Security benefits. However, spousal rules are extraordinarily complex as they relate to spousal benefits and their interplay with survivor benefits. According to Financial Engines, there are over 8,000 claiming strategies for married couples!!  

Divorced and widowed men and women are also confronted with complicated set of rules. Same-sex couples, and families with minor dependent children can all gain for a well-designed claiming strategy. In addition, there are issues such as taxation of benefits, working in retirement, and government pensions that have to be carefully examined.

The Social Security decision is particularly important for women because women generally live longer than men.  Consequently, they are more likely to be dependent on Social Security for their financial well-being in their final years than are men, according to Slate.  By age 85, about two-thirds of Social Security recipients are women.

The bottom line is that Social Security claiming strategies are very complex.  There are very few rules of thumb that apply to everyone.  Each case must be analyzed individually and coordinated with the rest of an individual’s or couple’s financial plan and retirement goals.  

You’ve paid into the system your entire working career.  Now it’s important to be smart on how you collect the benefits.

The Social Security Administration is the expert on Social Security and the creators of this complex system; however, they are not advisors and are not able to provide advice on when and how to take Social Security.  Therefore, those at or near retirement must educate themselves on Social Security or seek advice from a financial advisor.

My goal is to provide personalized guidance to assist you in analyzing and selecting the most suitable claiming strategy for your goals and circumstances. 

SPECIAL OFFER.  If you would like a free, no-obligation analysis of what you can expect to collect in Social Security benefits under a variety of breakeven and spousal claiming scenarios, contact me, and, together, we can weigh the various options and trade-offs to help you maximize your retirement income.

Workshops

I also present “Savvy Social Security Planning” workshops to the public, and for corporations, associations, and other groups including workshops specifically tailored for women, and for CPA’s and Attorneys (which includes CPE credits). 

These organizations benefit by helping educate their employees and members on the complexity of Social Security claiming strategies.  A survey of corporate employees by Financial Engines indicated a very strong interest for such educational workshops and for the specialized help and guidance. 

If you have an interest in attending these workshops or would like me to be a speaker at your next group meeting, please let me know.  Go to “Upcoming Events” for the latest public workshop information.

          My Goal is to Help You Grow, Protect, and Sustain the Retirement Lifestyle You Want”

 

1 Let me know if you would like to receive the informative article on the Six Major Retirement Risks and other Unpredictable Life Events.