By Ash Toumayants
Are you planning on Social Security making up a significant portion of your retirement income? If so, you’re in the same boat as 60% of American retirees. (1) With a program that impacts so many individual lives, you would think people would be more prepared to claim their benefits, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. Close to 63% of future retirees are not confident about how the program works, and 88% don’t know how benefits are calculated or how to maximize their Social Security payments. (2)
Even though the Social Security process can seem intimidating, the truth is that not having a complete picture of the system and how your benefits work could be financially devastating. If you’ve ever tried to understand Social Security or navigate the system on your own and found yourself confused, you are the perfect candidate for a Social Security review.
The Importance Of Understanding Your Benefits
The Social Security Administration provides you with 567 ways to claim Social Security benefits (3) and the Social Security Handbook has 2,728 separate rules governing your benefits. (4) As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all claiming strategy for Social Security. There are several factors that play a role in the amount of benefits you receive and the ideal date for you to start claiming those benefits, including your health status, life expectancy, need for income, whether or not you plan to continue working, and how concerned you are about running out of money.
While having a strategy for when to begin Social Security benefits is important, it is also critical to analyze your Social Security benefits in conjunction with all of your retirement assets. Incorporating your benefits into an overall retirement income plan may make a world of difference in the amount of income available to you in retirement.
What To Expect
In our Social Security review meeting, we’ll help you wade through the overwhelming number of Social Security options and discuss a few questions, including:
- How do I decide when to start collecting? Is it worth it to wait to collect my benefits until I reach Full Retirement Age (FRA)?
- Should I delay claiming past FRA to get a larger payment?
- How are my benefits calculated?
- How should I plan to maximize my total lifetime benefits?
- Should my spouse and I coordinate to maximize our total benefits?
- Can I work while collecting Social Security? If so, what are the limitations?
Our goal at Strong Tower Associates is to support you as you make critical retirement decisions. We place a priority on protecting your lifestyle and preserving and growing your assets. If you have questions and want to make sure you receive every penny that’s rightfully yours, we would love to offer you a Social Security review meeting to help you navigate and most effectively use your benefits before and during your retirement. Schedule your Social Security review today by contacting us at 814-325-9806, [email protected], or requesting a meeting using our online calendar. Be sure to take a look at our 2019 Social Security Benefits Guide as well!
Ash Toumayants is a financial advisor and the founder of Strong Tower Associates. For over a decade, he has helped hardworking people across Central Pennsylvania prepare for retirement. Fueled by a passion for helping people see through the veil of confusion that shrouds the financial world, his goal is to educate his clients so they can make more sound choices regarding their financial future. A Penn State graduate, he currently lives in State College with his lovely wife, Noelle, and their four adorable children. Learn more by connecting with Ash on LinkedIn or emailing [email protected].
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(3) Center for Retirement Research. Social Security: There is a better way. Boston College, September 2012.
(4) Forbes. 44 Social Security ‘Secrets’ All Baby Boomers and Millions of Current Recipients Need to Know – Revised! July 2012.