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Social Security Maximization Planning

Social Security represents a stable source of retirement income and should be considered a critical component of any individual's retirement plan. Because it is a lifetime annuity, it is far more valuable than many people realize. In other words; once you begin collecting benefits, they continue for the rest of your life. There is also a right of survivorship so when one spouse dies, the other can continue to receive the higher of the two benefits until they die as well. Benefits are also inflation protected thanks to annual cost-of-living adjustments.

Given the great potential of Social Security benefits over a person's lifetime, it makes sense to treat this resource as a significant asset and to make decisions that will maximize it to the greatest possible extent. According to Financial Engines, a company co-founded in 1996 by Nobel Prize winning economist William Sharpe, there are thousands of different variations in the way a married couple can claim benefits and the difference between the best and worst claiming strategy can sometimes exceed $250,000 in lifetime income.

The way Social Security benefits are calculated is nuanced, so it pays to get assistance from a seasoned financial professional. The financial advisors at Life Certain Wealth Strategies have the knowledge and experience to assist you in discovering which Social Security claiming strategies are available to you.  They can also help you to address common questions such as these and many others:

  1. Can it make sense for a spouse to collect benefits on his/her own work record at age 62 and then switch to a higher spousal benefit at age 66?
  2. Does the fact that the spouse starts collecting benefits on his/her own work record at 62 negatively impact the spousal benefit at age 66?
  3. If a spouse wants to wait to collect benefits at 70, can he collect benefits on his spouse's earnings record before then?
  4. If a married person who is less than full retirement age is collecting SS benefits and is also working, is it only that person's earned income that determines if benefits will be reduced or is it the joint earned income that is compared against the earned income limits?
  5. Can legitimate tax write-offs be used against any Social Security income that is deemed to be taxable?
  6. What if you were a local government employee, who didn't pay into Social Security, retired early, and now are in a new high-paying career contributing to Social Security?

As you can see these questions can get complex fairly quickly. At Life Certain Wealth Strategies, we recognize that getting the answers to your questions and understanding how to maximize your social security benefits is the key to unlocking the potential of this critical retirement component.  We will help you to learn more about your Social Security claiming strategy choices and properly plan around them.  We will also assist you with leveraging opportunities to collect your benefits in the most tax efficient manner.