About one in six Americans are currently receiving Social Security benefits, most of them retirees. Born out of the need for a safety net during the Great Depression, it is now the major source of income for at least half of the nation’s seniors. (1)
But even though Social Security benefits are designed to replace about 40% of pre-retirement income, (2) 86% of pre-retirees don’t know how much they will receive. (3) Despite its importance, many people make incorrect assumptions or get intimidated 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 A Social Security Strategy
The Social Security Administration provides you with 567 ways to claim Social Security benefits (4) and the Social Security Handbook has 2,728 separate rules governing your benefits. (5) As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all claiming strategy for Social Security. 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
In our Social Security review meeting, we’ll help you wade through the overwhelming number of Social Security options and discuss a few 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 The Harvey Group is to support you to make smart decisions to protect your lifestyle and preserve and grow your assets. If you have questions and want to make sure you receive every penny that’s rightfully yours, we would love to offer you a Social Security review meeting to help you navigate and most effectively use your benefits before and during your retirement. Schedule an appointment online or contact us at [email protected] or (703) 549-5447.
Steve Harvey is a financial advisor with more than 34 years of industry experience. He is also the founder of The Harvey Group, an independent investment consulting firm based in Alexandria, Virginia. He works closely with middle- and upper-middle-class families to help them address their critical financial planning challenges, from investing with confidence to planning for retirement. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, he works with clients throughout Virginia and Maryland. Learn more by connecting with Steve on LinkedIn or visiting www.steveharveyllc.com.
(4) “Social Security: There is a better way,” Center for Retirement Research, Boston College, September 2012.