Social Security Planning

Many of our parents retired with comfortable pension benefits. Having a guaranteed monthly pension check along with Social Security provided the backbone of a comfortable and confident retirement. Today most corporations have eliminated pension plans and now many state and local governments are considering doing the same. This makes your Social Security benefits an even more critical component of your Retirement Income Planning.

Don’t Follow the Herd

Did you know nearly 60%* of retirees filing for Social Security today are filing for their benefits “early” – meaning before their full retirement age (FRA). FRA is 66 for baby boomers born between 1943-1954. By doing so, these retirees are unfortunately locking-in reduced benefits for the rest of their lives. If you claim your Social Security benefits before your FRA, your benefits will be permanently reduced by as much as 25% if you file at the age of 62. However if you delay your benefits beyond your full retirement age, your benefit will increase by 8% per year between the ages of 66-70, or a total of 32% during those four years.

There are certainly some situations when it may make sense to file for benefits early, such as unemployment/underemployment, health concerns, or a shortened life expectancy. However many retirees today are filing early for the wrong reasons, such as fears of the solvency of Social Security, underestimating how long they will live, or simply because of peer pressure from their friends or co-workers who have decided to file early.

Life Expectancy and Social Security – You’ll Probably Be Around Longer Than You Think

Statistics show that a couple who reaches the age of 65 has a 50% chance one will live to 92, and a 25% chance on will live to 97. A single person age 65 today can expect to live on average an additional 22 years.*

If you’re potentially planning for a 25-30+ year retirement, having a higher Social Security benefit will certainly reduce your dependency on the performance of the stock and/or bond markets as you age. And if the experts are even half way right about estimates on future healthcare costs, having a higher guaranteed income from Social Security is certainly advantageous.

It’s critical for individuals and couples who are approaching retirement age to take the time to evaluate their unique circumstance to determine the ideal Social Security filing strategy for them. It’s not just about your own benefit or your spouse’s benefit if you are married. It’s also about taking advantage of any spousal coordination filing strategies as well as understanding how to best provide a maximum survivor benefit once one spouse passes.

Your Social Security Resource

Our office has years of practical experience in guiding people through their Social Security claiming options. To take full advantage of our expertise in this area, we frequently offer Social Security educational workshops throughout the community. Please give us a call to learn more and/or to register.

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