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 Security
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.
Why Social Security is more than “signing up”
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:
- Are you still working?
- Do you plan on working after you retire?
- Do you come from a long-lived family?
- How is your health?
- Will you still have health insurance?
- Are you eligible for benefits on someone else’s Social Security “record” (basically, someone else’s account)?
- Do you have other income to support you if you decide to delay taking your benefits?
- Will other family members qualify for benefits with you on your record?
- Are you married, single, or divorced?
- Do you have children, and if so, how old are they?
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 Calculators
Your 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 has been 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.