Retirement

Social Security Planning: Is Your Financial Advisor Asking You These Questions?

If not, you may be leaving money on the table and always wondering if you made the correct decision.

A married couple on average will collect approximately $1,500,000 in Social Security benefits over their lifetime assuming they live to life expectancy. That’s not a small amount. The dollar difference in strategies could vary as much as $250,000. So, it’s particularly important to know all your options and which strategy best fits into your overall financial plan.

You only get one opportunity at making one of the most important financial decisions to secure your retirement. This decision should not be made emotionally. Your goal in making this decision is threefold:

  • Maximize the high earner benefit
  • Coordinate the benefits between the spouses
  • Maximize the survivor benefit

For a married couple, this decision should not be made individually in a silo. You need to look at this decision based on your joint life expectancies.

Below is a list of questions your financial advisor should ask in order for you to maximize your Social Security benefits and determine which strategy best fits into your overall financial goals.

  • Are you a United States citizen?
  • Have you previously filed for Social Security benefits?
  • Does Social Security consider you disabled?
  • Are you single, married or divorced?
  • Do you have any unmarried children under 19?
  • If you are married, how long have you been married?
  • If you are divorced, what was the date of the marriage and what is the date of the divorce?
  • Are you currently single?
  • Have you been divorced more than once?
  • Do you plan to remarry?
  • Are you a surviving spouse?
  • Are you currently working, if so, what year do you plan to retire?
  • How much money will you make by year until you retire?
  • Do you currently receive Social Security retirement benefits? If so, when did benefits begin and how much?
  • Do you have another Government Pension which would be considered a “non-covered” pension? If so, when did benefits begin and how much?
  • How is your physical health?
  • Do you expect to live to 80?
  • How is your financial health?

All of these questions are relative in order for you to maximize your total lifetime benefits and make sure your Social Security benefit strategy integrates with your other retirement assets and your retirement financial plan. Social Security is the only asset I know that is guaranteed by the government, inflation protected and lasts your entire life. Take the time to explore your options and get the peace of mind that you have made the right decision.

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