I get a lot of questions about when to take benefits, how to use File & Suspend most efficiently, and when to begin Spousal Benefits. And unfortunately, I am often at a loss for giving a specific answer to the individual, because I just don’t have enough information.Social Security planning has very many factors that must be considered – for example:
- It’s important to consider earnings if you’re filing early and continuing to work, as this can impact the amount of benefits you actually receive.
- Your health status and longevity are critical to the equation as well – since delaying strategies often rely on your longevity to achieve payback.
- Of course, your marital status is important to the equation as well. If you’re married, you have to think about Spousal Benefits and Survivor Benefits in addition to your own benefit. And if you’re divorced or widowed, additional considerations must be brought into the equation as well.
- Probably the most important of all – do you need the money right now? Too often this factor is overlooked in our zeal to “get our money back”. It can be very worth your while to delay receiving benefits – but again, this shouldn’t be done blindly.
Each individual’s circumstances has other factors to consider as well. Your overall retirement plan has to be the context against which these factors should be considered.
As you take these factors and others into account, it’s important to perform break-even analysis on your benefits at various ages, along with that of your spouse (if you have one). Then it’s up to you to decide what makes the most sense in your situation. If you have a trusted advisor that you can work with to help you with your analysis, all the better.
And lastly, if I can help you with this analysis, this is what I do for a living. As always, I am happy to help you understand the nuances of the various programs and all – the only thing I ask of you is that you pass the word along to your friends and acquaintances. It’s my hope that when questions about Social Security and other financial issues come up, I can help.