Four Things To Know About Social Security PlanningSubmitted by Mission Financial Planning on November 5th, 2015
WITH THE RECENT (NOVEMBER 2015) BIPARTISAN BUDGET ACT, SOCIAL SECURITY RULES HAVE CHANGED SIGNIFICANTLY. THE ARTICLE BELOW WAS WRITTEN IN 2014, SOME OF THE STRATEGIES MENTIONED BELOW MAY NOW BE CONTINGENT ON YOUR AGE.
With over 2700 rules affecting Social Security benefits, it’s likely that no one knows everything there is to know about Social Security. Here are four foundational truths about Social Security:
Once you’re eligible, you can start Social Security in any month until you’re 70. While three starting times are quoted on your Social Security report, they are good for reference but are not your only choices.
Married couples do not have to take Social Security at the same time. In fact, there are some great strategies that use different start dates to optimize benefits based on your priorities: early cash flow, the survivor’s check, biggest monthly check or maximum benefits over a lifetime, for instance.
You can’t rely solely on the output of Social Security calculators or software. On its own, software – even the software Mission Financial Planning uses – doesn’t necessarily optimize results for YOUR goals. Software is great for crunching numbers and testing for eligibility, but you need to work with an expert, or become an expert, to be sure the output is truly what’s best for you. Software usually focuses on cumulative lifetime benefits, and may not optimize benefits based on other financial needs, assumptions or goals.
Divorcees are entitled to Social Security benefits based on their ex-s
pouse’s earnings record. Divorcees need to know that if they were married for 10 years or more, and have not remarried (it doesn’t matter if the ex spouse has remarried), they qualify for spousal benefits. Taking spousal benefits as a divorcee does not affect your ex’s check in any way. Don’t take your own benefits until you research what you could get off an ex spouse record.