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Social Security Planning

When your parents retired, they didn’t have to think about whether Social Security would be around to pay. They simply walked into their local Social Security office, gathered information, and decided when to turn on their payments. However, for baby boomers, the approach is quite different.

We are seeing more Social Security questions which often include some complex planning, including:

  • Will Social Security be there for me?
  • How much can I expect to receive?
  • When should I apply for Social Security?
  • How can I maximize my benefits?
  • Will Social Security be enough to live on in retirement?
  • What if I want to keep working?
  • How can I coordinate spousal benefits?
  • What's the best long-term strategy for my situation?
  • What do I do next?
Basic Social Security Questions

How much of a cut in benefits will you take if you apply early instead of the normal retirement age?

If you decide to work after starting retirement, how much can you earn before your benefits are reduced?

If a person begins receiving the maximum benefit at full retirement age in 2008 and lives to age 95, how much will he receive in total lifetime benefits, assuming an annual COLA of 2.8%?

True or false: Once a person reaches full retirement age it is impossible to accumulate higher benefits by working longer and earning more.

True or false: If a woman who is receiving benefits under her former spouse's earnings record remarries, she can choose which spouse's record to base her benefits on.

Which income sources are included in provisional income to determine if Social Security benefits are taxable?

More Complex Follow-On Questions
  1. Can it make sense for a spouse to collect benefits on his/her own work record at age 62 and then switch to a higher spousal benefit at age 66?

  2. Does the fact that the spouse starts collecting benefits on his/her own work record at 62 negatively impact the spousal benefit at age 66?

  3. If a spouse wants to wait to collect benefits at 70, can he collect benefits on his spouse's earnings record before then?

  4. If a married person who is less than full retirement age is collecting SS benefits and is also working, is it only that person's earned income that determines if benefits will be reduced or is it the joint earned income that is compared against the earned income limits?

  5. Can legitimate tax write-offs be used against any Social Security income that is deemed to be taxable?

  6. What if you were a local government employee, who didn't pay into Social Security, retired early, and now are in a new high-paying career contributing to Social Security?

We Will Help You Consider
  • Rules for spousal benefits.
  • Rules for divorced-spouse benefits.
  • Should you delay benefits?
  • Coordination of spousal benefits.
  • Ways to minimize taxes on Social Security benefits.