The average household retiring today stands to receive approximately $556,000 in Social Security benefits over the course of their retirement, according to the Urban Institute. That's well over half a million dollars! Some households will receive far more than that. You shouldn't take lightly a decision about one of your largest assets, but unfortunately that's exactly what many people do.
WHEN and HOW you choose to receive Social Security can have a HUGE impact on your benefits for the rest of your life and your spouse’s life. Many people stand to gain or lose $100,000, $200,000, $250,000 or more in benefits—depending on how they make this one decision.
For example, in a recent case, John and Jane were considering taking early retirement, with both starting their benefits at age 62. Their total lifetime benefits were projected to be $1,444,458. Instead, we recommend that John “file and suspend” at age 66, allowing Jane to collect a significant spousal benefit. John should restart his own benefit at age 70. Jane should file for her own benefits at age 66 and then file for spousal benefits at age 66 and 10 months.
By following this recommended strategy, their projected benefits increased to $1,900,981. That’s a whopping $456,523 increase in lifetime benefits.
2. It's a Complicated Decision
Not many people realize that a typical married couple can have literally HUNDREDS of OPTIONS—and in some cases over a thousand choices—on how and when to receive their Social Security retirement benefits.
A decision of this magnitude and complexity is clearly not one to be left by default to a low-level government bureaucrat, your interpretation of some on-line article, or the well-meaning advice of a friend or relative. You need expert, trained guidance to help you make what may be the most significant financial decision for the rest of your life.
3. It Must be Coordinated with Your Other Retirement Assets
To make the “when-and-how-to-receive-Social-Security-benefits” decision correctly, it cannot be made in a vacuum. Your Social Security benefits must be coordinated and integrated with your other assets and sources of retirement income.
All the various pieces to your retirement well-being can be like a complicated machine—each part affecting several other parts.
If you are a typical American pre-retiree, you will leave ─ literally ─ hundreds of thousands of dollars of lifetime Social Security income on the table because you don't file for your benefits correctly. WHEN and HOW you choose to receive Social Security can have a HUGE impact on your benefits for the rest of your life. Don't squander your largest financial asset.
Social Security is the retirement cornerstone for most middle-income American families. Most people think there isn’t much they can do about what they’ll receive, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Here are three critical points to keep in mind:
Concerned about the recent changes to Social Security? Click below to read Scott Farnworth's article explaining the changes and how they affect you.
Understanding when and how you CAN and when and how you MUST receive payments and distributions from your IRA’s, your 401(k)’s, company pension plans, private savings, and other retirement assets is a vital part of making wise Social Security decisions. These must also be coordinated with your tax situation.
With so much at stake, it’s not a time for guess-work, and it’s not a job for amateurs. Please contact us—we can do a complete analysis of all your options and show you how to maximize your Social Security retirement benefits.