Fact: One decision about Social Security benefits can mean $150,000 more in income over your lifetime, for you or your surviving spouse.

Fact: Around 10,000 American workers enter retirement each day. Most don’t realize they have so many options with their Social Security benefits – and what those options really mean. Many people think Social Security is a “sign here and it’s done” benefit, and by working with a professional advisor, many find they are surprised by their choices and their options.

Did You Know?

1. Social Security is an investment you’ve already paid into, and it’s fully insured by the government. Like other investments, you do have choices – but the complex fine print about Social Security can make these choices seem hidden or daunting.

2. The choices you make now can significantly impact the benefits that you and/or your spouse receive over the duration of your lives. Sometimes this can add up to $150,000 more of total income.

3. Once you make your decision on when to start receiving your benefits, you have only a short window of time to change that decision – after that, your benefits are locked in permanently.

While no one knows exactly how long they’ll live, new Social Security maximization tools are helping many individuals and couples make a fairly detailed prediction as they decide when to begin receiving benefits. In some cases, couples who work with a professional investment advisor with maximization software have decided to pay back benefits they’ve already started drawing, and have changed their strategy to start collecting at a later date. This choice can benefit them later on by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In fact, using maximization software specifically built for Social Security, investment advisors can give you a glimpse into the future of your Social Security benefits. The planning process is no easy task, and when couples want to make a change, they only have a 12-month window to complete it. To solve this challenge, some area advisors, such as Family Investment Center, are utilizing professional maximization software and identifying a team member as the “Social Security expert” to keep track of different options and share this information with individuals who request a benefits analysis.

It’s true that every person looking into retirement planning will have a different set of circumstances. Every case is definitely unique. But in most cases, delaying benefits can make a significant difference on the funds to which they have access later. Investment advisors who have recommended this course of action can not only increase the potential monthly retirement income for their clients, but they may also reduce the dependency of their clients’ family savings and allow them to leave more money to heirs.

Social Security is an investment that is completely insured by the federal government. However, it’s challenging to understand all the rules and regulations governing the system. This is another reason to plug all the variables into the Social Security software and get an idea of how each scenario could play out for you. Qualified investment advisors can even enter your family history and/or medical issues so the software provides more accurate scenarios.

Also keep in mind; although it is possible to evaluate Social Security options, it is also necessary to coordinate other investing with Social Security income. Your portfolio should be created to meet family goals while considering income streams available from pensions, interest and dividends, plus Social Security payments. Every income source is important to retirement success.

Maximizing the Social Security portion of your retirement strategy means reduction of your reliance on outside savings and increased financial flexibility. Seeking the expert advice of informed advisors like those at Family Investment Center is something that takes very little time, and little investment, but could offer great returns.

Dan Danford
Principal / Chief Executive Officer

Dan Danford is quoted for his investment expertise in financial articles from media sources like the Wall Street Journal, ABC News, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, U.S. News & World Report, and Medical Economics. He is also a member of The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), the country’s leading professional association of fee-only financial advisors. In 2008 and 2009, he was named one of the “150 Best Financial Advisors for Doctors” from Medical Economics magazine.