By Gary Cassell
It’s no secret that for most Americans these days, Social Security is a significant retirement asset. Born out of the Great Depression as a retirement safety net, these days a record high of around 177 million people are working and paying into the system that provides benefits for over 64 million people. (1) In fact, the majority of retirees get more than half of their income from Social Security. (2)
However, despite its importance, many people make incorrect assumptions or get overwhelmed by the details. Unfortunately, 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
To say the system is difficult to navigate is a bit of an understatement. The reality is that 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—not even close. 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
If you have questions (we know you do!) and want to make sure you receive every penny that’s rightfully yours, we are happy to offer you a Social Security review meeting. In our meeting, we will help you navigate and more effectively use your benefits before and during your retirement, as well as help you wade through the overwhelming number of Social Security options. We will discuss 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 Premier Wealth Advisory Services is to support you in making well-educated decisions designed to protect your lifestyle and preserve and grow your assets so that you can reach your goals and ultimately experience a fulfilling retirement. If you aren’t already a client and need to make a plan for your Social Security benefits, or if you are a client and want to make sure your Social Security claiming strategy is still right for you, I encourage you to reach out to us by calling (636) 532-7337 or scheduling a consultation using our online calendar.
Gary Cassell is president of Premier Wealth Advisory Services, an independent, fee-only wealth management firm. With over 25 years of experience in the financial industry, Gary is passionate about helping families, business owners, and executives live their lives by design, not by default, through personalized wealth management and unparalleled service. Gary earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Hastings College and is a long-time resident of St. Louis, where he lives with his beautiful wife and two wonderful children. When he’s not working, you can find Gary spending time with his family, hiking, playing tennis, walking, and brewing beer. To learn more about Gary, connect with him on LinkedIn.