The Runway

Several years ago, at a conference, I heard a story of a commercial pilot that had taken one of his friends flying in his personal plane. After an afternoon soaring above the clouds, it was time to land. Upon approach, the pilot landed at the very end of the runway and taxied all the way to the hanger. When they arrived at the hanger his friend asked, with such a small plane why did you not land in the middle of the runway instead of the end? The pilot answered. That is an easy question. In all my years of flying, I know one thing for certain. You cannot use the runway behind you.
I love this story because it is so applicable to retirement planning and especially optimizing Social Security. You see Social Security, for most people, is a one-time decision. It is very important to get it right the first time. The challenge is like the runway some people will agonize about the decision others have made or what they have or have not done about Social Security. The good news is that through an in-depth analysis of your benefits you can know how to best use this resource in retirement. When you should apply or your spouse should apply depends on your unique situation and waiting to learn the facts like the runway will leave you with fewer options. My preference is to start to understand Social Security around age 57, but the reality is until you turn 70 you may have some options that you need to consider. The beauty of evaluating Social Security early is Social Security impacts many other areas of retirement and you can be more proactive. You see the pilot wanted to land on the end in case something bad happened. He would have more options on the ground than in the air. The sooner you learn about Social Security and how it impacts the rest of your retirement, the sooner you can make any necessary adjustments. Study after study confirm the #1 fear people have is running out of money. The challenge is that because of the decisions most make about Social Security they have actually increased the probability of this situation actually happening. One thing that I know for sure is that not everyone should wait until age 70, but without the facts and analyzing your benefits you will never know if that is your best options. A basic analysis is only $100 and if you want to know more go to the education tab and look at our online education. In retirement there is a long runway, so be sure to take advantage of all of it. If you have questions please feel free to give me a call.