When to Begin Social Security? Even Some Advisors Aren’t Sure

social securityWell, some advisers might not be sure about how to optimize Social Security. For those advisers who are aware, they know there are basics to claiming strategies and that individual situations can make claiming a bit more complicated.

For example, there is even a special case where a person could end up claiming three (3) different benefits amounts through a well planned switching strategy if the different benefits align properly to do so (divorced-spouse survivor @60; switch to spousal benefit of new spouse (if married after 60) @66; then switch to own benefit @70 to maximize Delayed Retirement Credits (DRCs). Yes, this would be a rare case, but an example of knowing how to put benefits together through strategy. It is more common for some couples for one spouse or the other to be able to claim two (2) different benefits through a switching strategy.

The advantage to claiming later are discussed briefly in this article When to Begin Social Security? Even Advisors Aren’t Sure By John Sullivan, AdvisorOne March 28, 2013 that apply for singles and couples. More importantly, by maximizing benefits for couples, either one as a survivor has also maximized their survivor benefit. Maximization takes the “stress” off a portfolio of having to support a higher income because a higher Social Security benefit means less income needs to come from your portfolio.

Simple, or complicated, it pays to take the time to carefully consider how to optimize these benefits. An adviser who knows how could bring in thousands more to your budget over your retired lifetime … those dollars require less to have to come from your portfolio, if you so wish, further helping your portfolio last at least as long as you do.

More blogs on Social Security with insights into possible strategies.

PS. David Blanchett mentioned in article linked to above is a collaborator on five of my research papers.

PPS. Make a note on your calendar to come back to my blog on August 14th when I have scheduled a blog on what you may consider if you, or someone you know, feels they started Social Security too early. (Yes, I pre-write and schedule many blogs ahead of time in order to have at least one weekly post for subscribers on one topic or another).

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3 Responses to When to Begin Social Security? Even Some Advisors Aren’t Sure

  1. Larry Frank, Sr. June 5, 2013 at 3:44 am #

    Here is an excellent description about the benefits of delaying until 70 and brings in the strategy I suggest to people who are sure they’re retiring or forced into retirement. The strategy is called a “bridge” strategy where part of your savings are set aside (this linked example purchases a certain kind of annuity … but simple cash or very conservative investments work too). The set aside money generates the income as if it where the Social Security income and bridges your budget to age 70 when Social Security then kicks in.

    What this bridge strategy does is ultimately reduce the stress of having to withdraw larger sums of money for income over more years because Social Security income is higher.


  2. Larry Frank, Sr. February 20, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    Divorce and remarriage? Robert Powell Feb. 18, 2014, 5:01 a.m. EST How divorce, remarriage impact Social Security http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-divorce-remarriage-impacts-social-security-2014-02-18?pagenumber=1

  3. Larry Frank, Sr. November 2, 2015 at 8:55 am #

    The new law ” Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 * ” has removed two prior strategies that couples used to have since 2000. “File and suspend” and “Restricting the application to spousal benefits” are no longer viable strategies. The two strategies above were removed by the new law as “low hanging fruit” (most obvious opportunities because they are readily achievable and do not require a lot of effort) on Congress’ efforts to save money in the Social Security trust fund structure.

    Strategies for the divorced or survivors are still viable, as are many other claiming strategies however … so all is not lost!

    *Subtitle C: Protecting Social Security Benefits. Sec. 831. Closure of unintended loopholes.

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