Do not drive to your local Social Security office until you have educated yourself. That is the best advice I can give to all you baby boomers heading towards retirement. There is a large crater between what most Americans think they know about Social Security and the real rules governing this entitlement program. Multiple surveys and an untold number of stores reveals this fact.
As a result of this lack of knowledge and people not getting professional guidance, the typical retiree will walk right past up to $100,000 in lifetime retirement benefits.
For a married couple, the difference between a smart Social Security claiming strategy and the urge to “take the money and run” could be $250,000 or more over their combined lifetimes. Social Security is the cornerstone of retirement income for most Americans. So why are so many people not doing their homework before going to the social security office?
Last year Financial Engines conducted a survey of more than 1,000 people who are retired or close to retirement . The repsondents were asked eight basic questions about claiming Social Security benefits. Of those people who had not yet claimed their benefits, 74% scored a grade of C or lower. Only 5% were able to answer all eight questions correctly. This survey shows that this retirement decision is more complex than most Americans think. As a financial professional, I can assure you that this decision will have a dramatic impact on the standard of living most people enjoy in this new chapter of life.
The Financial Engines survey found that 70% of people who hadn’t yet claimed Social Security said they would be at least somewhat interested in a professional service to help hem develop a claiming strategy. And, 39% said they would be extremely or very interested in this type of Social Security-claiming help. Who is going to provide that assistance, the Social Security Administration? A financial advisor is best suited to help you understand how to put the pieces of a retirement income plan together. Those pieces should include Social Security, retirement savings, pensions (if you are one of the fortunate few) and for some people continued work in retirement. In the current economic environment, some may be better off by tapping their retirement accounts in order to delay Social Security as long as possible. That is probably not what most Wall Street brokers would like to see happen to that IRA.
A financial advisor may be able to improve a client’s investment return by 1-2% with good asset allocation and diversification, but guiding clients to a better claiming decision as it relates to Social Security could increase their lifetime income by 25% or more. Although we can claim benefits as early as 62, your payment will be reduced forever and you will be subject to earnings caps if you continue to work and you will forfeit the ability to engage in creative claiming strategies that could boost your lifetime income.
Many retirees do not understand what a file and suspend, or restricted application could do for them. Nor do they understand the spousal benefit strategies and how they work.
Here’s my irresistible offer to America…send to my email:
Your Date of Birth, Spouses Date of Birth, Your age 66 Social Security payment, Your Spouses age 66 Social Security Payment.
And I will run an optimized SS Report for you at NO COST and NO OBLIGATION.
Email me @: firstname.lastname@example.org