One decision can impact your retirement by tens of thousands of dollars.
Choosing the right Social Security election may be the most important decision of your retirement. How much you receive from Social Security depends on three primary factors:
- Your earnings record
- When you elect
- How long you expect to live
Since you can’t go back and change your earnings record, and you have minimal control over how long you live, calculating an expected lifetime benefit largely hinges on when and how you elect benefits. In theory, if you elect early, you will get a smaller benefit for a longer period of time. If you elect later, you will get a larger benefit for a shorter period of time. Single people can do a simple “break-even” analysis to determine whether to take early or wait. But for married couples, the decision is much more complex.
For married couples, a simple break- even analysis will usually give the wrong answer, costing you benefit dollars.
Why? Because Social Security offers three distinct benefits for married people:
Retired Worker Benefit — Based on your own earnings record
Spousal Benefit — Provides your spouse with a benefit once you claim your own benefit
Survivor Benefit — Provides your spouse with a benefit after your death
Virtually all of the simple break-even calculators in use today ignore the Spousal and Survivor benefits. Complex planning software includes spousal and survivor benefits but only for one combination of election ages. In short, neither tool offers a thorough analysis.
What’s at Stake?
The difference between the best and worst possible decision of when to elect Social Security can be well over $100,000!
Case Study: A 62-year-old couple with one above average earner (PIA $1,800) and a lesser earning spouse (PIA $1,000), who both live to average life expectancy could lose over $60,000 in family benefits by making the worst possible decision for when to take Social Security.
- If they both elect at age 62, they could be losing over $50,000
- If they both elect at age 66, this couple could still be leaving $30,000 on the table
- Simply delaying benefits isnâ€™t the answer either. If they both delay to 70, they could be losing over $40,000
What if you could analyze hundreds of election age combinations and determine which was the best option for you?
Family Benefits Analysis
Using software analysis, we examine hundreds of possible combinations, including 81 possible age combinations across nine possible election strategies and find the one option that offers the highest expected lifetime benefit.
We provide a summary of the best, worst and two common election strategies.
Your Social Security Timing™ Report
With your Family Benefit Analysis, you’ll receive a customized report including:
- Projected Outcomes for Best/Worst/ Common Election Choices
- “Map” of expected outcomes for each election age combination
- The Switch Strategies solution that could further optimize your Social Security income
Why Maximize Social Security?
For most people, Social Security is the only income stream that:
- Is adjusted annually to keep up with inflation
- Is tax-advantaged—at worst, it’s only 85% taxable as ordinary income
- Will continue to pay you for as long as you live
- Is backed by a government promise