Social Security CardsThe decisions you make about your Social Security benefits are a vital part of your overall retirement planning.  Questions about Social Security benefits are some of the most important questions that we receive from our clients.

Total lifetime benefits are typically enhanced by waiting as long as possible to begin receiving your Social Security benefits.

Full retirement age is age 66 for current retirees, but those who start taking benefits as of age 62 are discounting their payments by approximately 25%.

Waiting even longer until age 70 to begin receiving benefits can improve your total lifetime benefits.  Every year you delay taking benefits your eventual monthly payment increases by about 8%.   However, not everyone can afford to wait until age 70.  Life demands and personal goals sometimes override mathematical calculations.  We understand this, and take all of these factors into consideration when helping you to determine how and when to claim benefits.   Individuals with sufficient pensions and/or other investments who can afford to delay drawing Social Security until later will typically receive more benefits from the system given today’s average life expectancies.

The increase in the annual benefit you would receive by deferring from age 62 to age 70 would make up for itself in roughly eight years, ultimately providing the maximum lifetime benefit.  So by age 78 or so, you will have earned back all the money you didn’t receive by deferring benefits.

We know that some people believe they should take Social Security as soon as possible because they fear that the government will reduce or even eliminate benefits.  However, while some people think they need to “get it while they can,” we maintain that the reform proposals that have been floated have been designed to not affect those over age 50.  We contend that it would be political suicide to directly reduce benefits for retirees.  It would be a great way for senior citizens to start a riot that would put the social unrest of the 1960s to shame.

We have Social Security timing software which shows married couples, in particular, how they can maximize their lifetime benefits.  There are a number of strategies that can be utilized to increase your lifetime benefits if you take the time to work with someone who really understands the Social Security benefit system and has the power of excellent software to make the calculations.

[We have seen some couples enhance their total lifetime benefits by over $100,000, and we have seen some couples not benefit at all.  Your outcome depends on your personal earnings record and retirement circumstances, and is highly dependent on the personal decisions and planning that you do.]

If you have not made your Social Security election, we can assist you in determining your personal strategy and building a plan to maximize your lifetime benefits.  How can we help you – or others you know – to maximize your Social Security benefits as part of comprehensive retirement planning?  Give us a call at 712-256-4856.