CNBC explains the best age to claim Social Security

Posted on June 06, 2018

According to an article from CNBC, the best way to determine the optimal age to claim your Social Security benefits is by calculating when you would break even. The break even point is when the amount you receive if you claim later equals the amount you would have received if you had started early. Generally, the age range when an individual would break even is 77 to 83-years-old.  

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Posted in Benefits, Joe Elsasser, Social Security Benefits, CNBC

Calculator figures how much social security benefit is taxable

Are you able to explain to this growing clientele how their benefits are taxed? Our calculator helps.

The proportion of beneficiaries who must pay income tax on their Social Security benefits has risen over time and will continue to grow. With more people impacted by these taxes, it’s important that you’re able to explain how their benefits are taxed.

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Posted in Benefits, Blog, Calculator, Social Security, Tax

Timing one spouse's benefit when the other already claimed

A subscriber called our support team and asked this claiming question for his client.

I have a client, Jim, who is 62 years old. His wife, Kim, is five years older and already collecting, having elected at age 62. Can he file now and have his wife apply for the spousal benefit? Her benefit is $425 a month, and his benefit at age 62 would be $1,706 and at 66 would be $2,265.

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Posted in Benefits, Social Security

Considerations for government employees

Posted on June 17, 2016

When I spoke about Social Security planning at the NTSAA 403(b) Advisor Summit in Las Vegas, much of the discussion centered on the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) in Social Security.

If you’re an advisor who works with teachers, police officers, firefighters, government employees or the spouses of those workers, you need to be aware of these provisions and how they affect your clients.

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Posted in Benefits, Claiming Strategies

Effects of work on Social Security benefits

Posted on May 18, 2016

If you are under full retirement age (FRA), there is a limit to what you can earn before some or all of your benefits are withheld.

This is true whether you are receiving Social Security Retirement or a Survivor benefit. Once you reach FRA, you can make as much as you want. It's important to note, this is not a tax. If the earnings penalty applies to you, Social Security will adjust your benefit formula at FRA to treat the months that you did not receive a check as if you had not elected

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Posted in Benefits, Earnings Test

How good Social Security planning can offset 'disturbing' trend hurting widows

Posted on July 27, 2015

While researching the impact of male Social Security claiming and poverty rates for widows, I have read article after article that illustrates the need for competent financial advising, especially in the area of Social Security claiming decisions and retirement income planning.

There is no shortage of research literature that directly ties the financial futures of many women to the claiming decisions of their husbands. For example, a study commissioned by the Federal Reserve in 2012

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Posted in Benefits, Claiming Strategies

When helpful advice turns into long-term hardship

Posted on July 27, 2015

Several calls to our office in the past month reaffirm what advisors with Social Security expertise see all too often — consumers can get short-changed when they receive advice at their local Social Security office.

To illustrate this, we’ll use the real-life example of a widow who elected to first claim her widow benefits while waiting for retirement benefits to accumulate.

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Posted in Benefits, Claiming Strategies

Social Security Widow Benefit explained

Posted on June 22, 2015

Most of you are probably already familiar with a simplified version of the widow calculation which says that the surviving spouse receives the higher of his or her own benefit, or the benefit of the deceased, which may have been reduced or increased depending on if and when the deceased filed for Social Security benefits. See Figure 1 below.

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Posted in Benefits, Claiming Strategies