Putting a Value on Your Social Security Benefits

Key Takeaways: As a child, getting to check the mailbox each day was likely an experience filled with joy. You were likely hopeful that just one piece of mail would have your name on it.  Fast forward a few years, and that excitement has been replaced by reluctance.  We all know what lies waiting.  With […]

Most Couples Shouldn’t BOTH Delay Social Security

Key Takeaways: We’ve written a previous breakdown on the Social Security timing decision.  Briefly, between ages 62-70, if you delay taking income, your monthly benefit grows.  We discussed that delaying increased payments can be a winning strategy and that it is easy to calculate a break-even age when making this decision.  However, the same math that says […]

Should Business Owners Raise Their Salary to Earn More Social Security?

Key Takeaways: Lower taxes are better, right?  We spend a great deal of time planning around the tax code to help people accomplish their goals in the most tax-efficient manner.  However, lowering taxes today often has consequences down the road.  Sometimes there is a clear mathematical break-even, and other times a complex web of behavioral […]

Evaluating a Pension Buyout

Key Takeaways:   Calculating the “hurdle rate” of return is an important first step in determining whether staying in the pension or taking a lump sum is the best option for you. Beyond the math, there are other big-picture variables that should be considered before deciding. The pension vs. lump sum decision should be made […]

Should Business Owners Raise Their Salary to Earn More Social Security?

Key Takeaways: Pass-through entity owners can choose to take profits as wages or distributions Increasing owner salary raises payroll tax liability but also increases future Social Security benefits Older owners and owners with non-working spouses and/or incomplete earnings records stand to benefit the most from increasing their salaries       Lower taxes are better, […]

Alternative Uses of Social Security Income

Key Takeaways:   Many unique situations could justify taking Social Security earlier. The psychological benefits of a new income stream can relieve anxiety around a new planning strategy. To take Social Security before age 70, the financial and non-financial benefits of claiming Social Security early should outweigh the benefits of deferral.     If you […]

Most Couples Shouldn’t BOTH Delay Social Security

Key Takeaways: Two-income households have more complex Social Security timing decisions The higher-earning spouse generally benefits from delaying payments The lower-earning spouse generally benefits from starting payments early We’ve written a previous breakdown on the Social Security timing decision.  Briefly, between ages 62-70, if you delay taking income, your monthly benefit grows.  We discussed that […]

Putting a Value on Your Social Security Benefits

Key Takeaways: Most retirees don’t think of Social Security as an asset and therefore exclude it from their balance sheet. The present value of Social Security payments over an average life expectancy can easily be several hundred thousand dollars. We can’t predict what will happen with Social Security down the road, so it is important […]

Social Security: Whether to Wait to Start Taking Retirement Benefits

Key Takeaways: You could be facing up to a 30% reduction in your PIA by taking Social Security retirement benefits at age 62. By waiting until age 70, your retirement benefits will be roughly 32% higher than your PIA. The breakeven for taking Social Security retirement benefits at age 70 compared to age 66 is […]

Social Security Income: Not-So-Simple Basics

  When I first started writing this article, my introductory sentence was “Social Security on the surface is a very simple concept.” However, as I began to write about all of the “simple” information, I have to conclude that Social Security is not very simple at all if you are not continually dealing with it. Below, I […]

Pre-RMD & Social Security Roth Conversions

Key Takeaways: Roth conversions should be especially considered if retired and not yet 70 years old. Withdrawing pre-tax funds and paying taxes before Social Security and Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) may result in less tax paid on those funds over the long term. Careful retirement income tax planning prior to age 70 may present significant […]

Alternative Uses of Social Security Income

Key Takeaways: If you live a longer than average life, you will very likely receive more in Social Security if you wait until age 70 to claim.  However, in numerous situations, we have advocated for earlier enrollment if the client’s situation justifies doing so.  In most of these instances, the rationale is a combination of […]