With Social Security representing the single largest source of income for the majority of Americans age 65 and older, deciding when and how to claim Social Security benefits is one of the most important retirement income decisions that you will ever make. For many, claiming the right strategy can mean tens of thousands of extra retirement income dollars over a lifetime.
Even though recent changes in Social Security have eliminated some claiming strategies, their removal does not simplify the claiming process. In fact, as counterintuitive as it may seem, these changes will make planning even more difficult because now each person, including each partner of a married couple, may be subject to a different set of rules.
For these reasons, filing for benefits should not be taken lightly. When determining the best strategy to employ, a number of factors should be considered including health and longevity, other retirement income such as pensions, 401(k)s, and IRAs, your tax situation, how long do you plan on working, will you be working while receiving benefits, etc.
Determining optimal Social Security claiming strategies has always been an integral part of our financial planning process, especially for our clients approaching retirement. Although the recent Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 has changed some of the rules, it does not change our overall comprehensive approach. We have years of experience helping our clients receive the best benefits they’re entitled to. More important than the technology we use is a thorough understanding of how the software works and how to interpret the results.
Social Security remains a foundational piece of retirement income and you want to adopt the best possible strategy for your unique situation. Planning and expert help are still key.