Social Security is available only to those who pay into the program—about 96% of American workers. While you may think that everyone pays into Social Security, some people do not—employees of some railroads and state employees who participate in state pension programs, among others. Social Security offers participants a predetermined, steady, lifetime income based on the amount of money they have put into the program. To a certain extent, it adjusts for inflation and offers survivor’s benefits. You probably know that the longer you delay receiving your Social Security benefits, the more money you will receive each month.
Well, it may have something to do with the fact that the official Social Security Handbook contains no less than 2,728 separate rules governing Social Security benefits. Let’s put it another way. In a recent book on Social Security planning published for financial professionals, over 40 percent of the book is devoted to a discussion of various Social Security strategies for couples! Many more pages are devoted to discussions of strategies that are designed for singles and non-traditional couples.
You can claim Social Security millions of ways, but ZERO Social Security Administration employees can advise you and your decision can leave $250,000 of your money with the government. And you don’t get a second chance once you have claimed!
For some reason, many people don’t think of Social Security as part of their financial resources or as something that requires planning. The fact is that if you’re like most people, Social Security will represent 35% percent of your retirement income—or at least it can if you maximize it.
Both of these notions are utterly incorrect. Making an incorrect decision can leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table. And, in fact, the Social Security Administration is not permitted to assist you with making choices.
I took the time to become an expert in Social Security issues so that I could help my clients maximize their Social Security resources as part of their complete retirement portfolios.
Thanks for taking the time to read this material. I hope it will convince you that:
At any given moment, across the United States, people are waking up the morning after their sixty-second birthdays, and after their morning coffee they log into the Social Security website to sign-up for their benefits. Sadly, this simple, logical action may be one of the biggest financial mistakes they make, and may cost many of these people hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetimes.
Why Do So Many People Get it Wrong?Well, it may have something to do with the fact that the official Social Security Handbook contains no less than 2,728 separate rules governing social security benefits. Let’s put it another way. In a recent book on Social Security planning published for financial professionals, over 40 percent of the book is devoted to a discussion of various Social Security strategies for couples! Many more pages are devoted to discussions of strategies that are designed for singles and non-traditional couples.
In an environment where there are 2,728 rules, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that there are many choices. One you probably already know about: deciding whether to begin collecting Social Security at age 62, and start receiving money then, or to wait perhaps to age 70 and collect more money later. But matters are much more complicated than that. Singles, couples, and “non-traditional” couples (where one spouse may be much younger or older than the other, where there is a great disparity in incomes between the spouses, etc.) all have different issues and one couple’s (or single’s) issues are not at all likely to be like another’s.
My job is to help you devise a Social Security strategy that takes your unique circumstances into account and, in combination with your other resources (savings, investments, pension, etc.), will give you the best possible retirement.
You may have received financial and retirement planning advice from a financial advisor, an insurance agent, or even a “family banker.” None of these individuals are charitable institutions – in many cases, their advice includes recommendations on the purchases of insurance policies, annuities, stocks, etc., for which they receive a commission as do I when I sell these instruments. In my own case, I found that I could not offer the best possible service to my clients without becoming an expert on Social Security, as well. Obviously, no commissions are paid on this portion of my business. It is something I choose to do to provide the best, most complete, retirement planning services I can. Like my colleagues, I am not a charitable institution, either.
When should you start planning your strategy?Social Security is an important part of your total retirement/estate planning strategy. I suggest that you should start planning for the part Social Security will play in your strategy when you first think “I really ought to put something aside for retirement.” Is twenty too early? Not at all, if you intend to embark on the execution of a disciplined, life-long retirement strategy. Is sixty-two too late? No; but it has been my experience that the options available to you will become fewer as you grow older. The earlier you begin planning, the more choices you will have. In this context, “choices” means “more opportunities to maximize returns.” I find that I can contribute most when people are between the ages of 30 and 50. Though I can and have helped older people make the best choices for them, it remains a fact that the number of choices available to them are fewer. And Social Security is like any other investment: as your circumstances change (income, marital status, children, age, health), you should re-evaluate your plan in light of your new circumstances, just as you would with any other investment.
To be eligible for Social Security, you must have “40 credits” of covered work. For most people, this means working for at least 10 years during which they had earnings that were subject to Social Security tax or self-employment tax. You must also be at least 62 years old. In addition, you may qualify for benefits as a spouse, former spouse, or survivor of a covered worker.
What you already know about Social SecuritySocial Security is available only to those who pay into the program—about 96% of American workers. While you may think that everyone pays into Social Security, some people do not—employees of some railroads and state employees who participate in state pension programs, among others. Social Security offers participants a predetermined, steady, lifetime income based on the amount of money they have put into the program. To a certain extent, it adjusts for inflation and offers survivor’s benefits. You probably know that the longer you delay receiving your Social Security benefits, the more money you will receive each month.
When I meet a new client, I start by asking some pretty basic questions, every one of which contributes to the development of a personal Social Security strategy:
Based on your answers, I’ll have even more questions.Every one of these factors should be taken into account before you elect to begin receiving Social Security benefits.
The Danger of Simple CalculatorsYour benefits will depend on both your circumstances and the decisions you make. My job is to help you make sure that your decisions maximize your Social Security benefits in a way that best suits your particular needs.
Some clients ask about using simple financial calculators to maximize Social Security. Given their simplicity, many calculators are destined to give you the wrong answer. Are you aware that most Social Security calculators consider only a fraction of the total possible scenarios to choose from? In fact, you may have over 100 million Social Security strategies to consider. Fortunately, we are able to help you know which ONE is right for you.
How can we do this? We have partnered with Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff, who is one of the most respected authorities on Social Security. Dr. Kotlikoff’s work was published and recognized by The New York Times, Forbes, PBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and many other prominent media outlets. Through our partnership, Dr. Kotlikoff has given us access to his research, which allow us to give our clients the best possible strategy to maximize Social Security benefits. Social Security is complicated, but choosing the best strategy for your situation doesn’t have to be. Schedule your appointment now so that we may remove any guess work or frustration and replace it with a solid strategy based on the best research in the industry.
For a married couple, maximizing Social Security can often lead to over $100,000 more in lifetime benefits.
Not married? Divorced? We’ll review specifics of your unique situation, and based on those specifics, develop a plan.
I will then prepare a personalized report detailing the best strategy for you and how to implement it, step-by-step.
Going forward, I will be available to meet with you to review the progress of your plan or to help you make changes to it based on changes in your circumstances (a marriage, divorce, new child, change in income, etc.).
How to prepare for your Social Security Maximization Plan MeetingDuring our meeting, I’ll need information about your Social Security account, and only you can request this information from the Social Security Administration. Here’s how to go about getting it. The first step is to relax. This is going to be about as difficult as establishing an account with Netflix.
First, if you have not already done so, please schedule an appointment.
Next, go to http://www.SSA.gov.
On the left side of the screen, click on “Get your Social Security Statement online”At the bottom of the new page that appears, click the box that says “SIGN IN OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT.”
Congratulations, you’re done! If you have scheduled an appointment, I will be in touch to confirm our visit; if you’ve requested that I get in touch via email, please send me your email to Bob@RetirementPlanningGroup.net. I look forward to meeting you and providing you with a path that will lead to you receiving all the Social Security benefits to which you are entitled.
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