The Social Security website makes it sound simple to file for your retirement benefits: “Social Security offers an online retirement application that you can complete in as little as 15 minutes. It’s so easy … In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done.”
While the process for filing for Social Security benefits may be easy, the strategy for maximizing your benefits is anything but simple and straightforward.
Here are just two of the things to consider before filing:
When should you begin collecting? You can begin receiving retirement benefits as early as age 62. But if you wait until you’re 70, your monthly check can be as much as 76 percent higher than what you would receive at 62. That’s a huge return without any risk. And if you work after age 62, the benefits may be even higher.
Should you consider the so-called “start-stop-start” strategy? Under this scenario, you file for retirement benefits before reaching full retirement age, then suspend those benefits once you reach full retirement age. You’ll then earn an 8 percent delayed benefit credit for every year you wait before resuming benefits. This start-stop-start approach can be especially advantageous for couples who have certain age and income differences that won’t allow them to file and suspend benefits.
From spousal benefits to benefits for children, there are many, many other wrinkles in Social Security that can trip up the uninformed and unprepared.
Our advisors take a comprehensive look at clients’ anticipated retirement income needs, their retirement plan savings and tax situation before recommending the best approach for filing for Social Security benefits.
To learn more, contact one of our advisors.
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