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Understand How Social Security Works

One of the most important things you will do as you plan for your retirement is to decide when to claim Social Security benefits. But, what do you know about how Social Security works?



The timing of your Social Security claiming decision could cost or save you thousands of dollars. 

Don’t let unclear information about Social Security stop you from making a smart decision about when to claim.

Register to watch our Social Security video series.

You will learn how to:

  • Understand recent Social Security legislation

  • Identify the interactions between different income types

  • Optimize your Social Security claiming strategy



Simply email us with some days and times that work for you!

Factors That Increase or Reduce Social Security Benefits:
There are three primary factors influence how much you receive monthly as your Social Security benefit…

<strong>The number of years that you worked and paid into Social Security.</strong>

The number of years that you worked and paid into Social Security.

Every year you work, your earnings are recorded in the Social Security system. If you have gaps in employment due to illness, unemployment, caregiving duties or working but not paying into Social Security, your benefit amount will be lower than it would be otherwise.

<strong>Your earnings during the years you paid into Social Security.</strong>

Your earnings during the years you paid into Social Security.

The amount of your monthly benefit is based on your lifetime earnings. The 35 highest documented earning years are taken into consideration. There is a direct correlation between higher earnings and higher monthly benefits; therefore, boosting your earnings with secondary employment may be of benefit.

<strong>When you decide to start receiving your benefits. </strong>

When you decide to start receiving your benefits.

If you opt into your monthly benefits at an earlier age than your full retirement age, your benefit amount will be reduced, and you will receive lower monthly payments over your lifetime. If you can take your benefits after full retirement age, you will receive larger monthly payments. In fact, taking your benefit at age 70 rather than 62 guarantees a 76% return in your benefit amount, something that most investments cannot match.

Special Situations to Consider:
Deciding when to take your Social Security benefits is important. Your timing will depend on your values, your vision for your retirement lifestyle, and your particular life circumstances. Consider the following life situations and their impact…

<strong>Your Employment</strong>

Your Employment

Will you take benefits early but continue to work? If so, your benefits may be reduced. Conversely, if you work until full retirement age and continue to work, then you can also receive your full benefit.

<strong>Your Tax Liability</strong>

Your Tax Liability

The Social Security Administration reports that approximately 40% of people who take monthly benefits have to pay income taxes on them. Depending on your income and tax bracket, up to 85% of your benefit is taxable.

<strong>Your Health</strong>

Your Health

Poor health for you or a family member may mean that you have to take Social Security benefits earlier than you planned. Alternatively, your family history and good health can mean that your retirement will last longer than you planned.

<strong>Your Marital Status</strong>

Your Marital Status

Whether you are divorced or married will impact when you take your benefits. In some cases, you may even be eligible to take some or all of your spouse's benefits and postpone your own.

Social Security Resources

We've compiled some articles, videos, and calculators designed to educate you on your retirement options, as well as help you make a sound plan to best utilize your Social Security benefits.

Social Security Updates and Key Strategies

Social Security Updates and Key Strategies

When you’re planning for retirement, knowing how to maximize your Social Security benefits needs to be a key part of your long-term strategy.

Social Security Website

Access your Social Security account and your statements here. 

Visit Social Security Site

2021 Social Security Fact Sheet

See an overview of the 2021 changes to Social Security.


Email us to schedule your Social Security analysis!

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