Trip to Nashville

I just got back from Nashville TN where I provided education for the Society of Financial Service Professionals, a group of over 25 CPA’s, Attorney’s, Insurance Agents and Financial Advisors. I had been invited to come to help them better understand Social Security and how to better educate their clients on the subject. The presentation was Using Social Security, the Red-Headed Stepchild, in Retirement Planning. The truth is that Social Security is probably the most overlooked component of retirement planning and in reality one of the most important. There were excellent questions and quite a few misconceptions were addressed. We spend some time on the new rules but also on how to use the old ones better for their clients. Once of the core values of my company is education and I believe by helping others have a better understanding all benefit.  Here is what one of the organizers of the event had to say about the presentation.

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It happens all too frequently on Twitter. Someone without any credentials writes a piece that says you should always take Social Security as early as possible. Their rationale is that you may have to live to your early 80’s to break even. What they fail to understand is that Social Security is often not based on a single life but the joint life of a married, divorced or widowed spouse. Social Security is very complex and something I learned long ago is to never say always. Continue Reading

Disaster Avoided

One of the reasons I started this company was to help people make better decisions. I recently met with Bonnie to help her plan for her retirement. We went through her Social Security and looked at her assets. Fortunately for her, she had very little debt and a reasonable income goal for retirement. The challenge is that she did not have enough savings for retirement. Her goal was to retire at 62 and live off Social Security, a small pension, an inheritance and her 403(b) plan.

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A friend said that she went to Social Security and they told her to take the benefit as early as possible. Is this good advice?

Answer: First Social Security offices are not allowed to give advice. They are there to help process paperwork. It may be in their best interest to have you complete the paperwork while you are there so they will not have to do this in the future. It is impossible to tell whether or not it is best for you to start early without an analysis of your unique situation. Since no two people have the exact same variable it is difficult if not impossible to try to create some filing rules beyond the older higher income spouse should usually wait to file until age 70, but this also may not be true if both have a short life expectancy.

Shouldn’t I take Social Security early since they are broke?

Answer: One of the myths about Social Security is that they are broke. This is more political than factual. The recent audited report of Social Security shows a surplus and is expected to run a surplus through 2023 at which time outflows will exceed inflows and the surplus will be drawn down. This is expected to last about 10 years. At that time if nothing was done currently contributions to Social Security would be able to pay 77% of promised benefits. So the real question is not will it run out of money, but would you rather have ¾ of $3000 or ¾ of $2000.