When Should I Start My Social Security Benefits #1
About the author: Chris Abts is the President & founder of Cornerstone based in Reno, NV. He helps people to better manage their wealth so they can focus more of their time on what truly brings meaning and fulfillment to their life. Abts is also a best-selling author and TV show host of Redefining Retirement, which airs every Sunday evening at 5:30pm on KTVN Channel 2.
The longer you wait before you start your Social Security benefits, the bigger the monthly benefit. Herein lies where most people make a big mistake. Deciding when to start your benefits can have a significant impact on your income in retirement. So, it’s best to have a clearly defined strategy. Here are a few things you should know before you move forward and make this important financial decision.
In my experience, most people want help determining how best to maximize their benefits and how it fits into their overall retirement income plan, but most financial advisors are woefully unprepared to help their clients in this important area. However, there are many advisors who do understand Social Security’s specifics, such as, the advantages and disadvantages of starting benefits early or late, spousal options and survivor benefits, strategies to combine benefits, and tax planning, to name a few.
One problem I see all too often, is that most advisors tend to think of Social Security as a “one size fits all”. Meaning they either tend to believe that starting benefits early is the best option or they tend to believe that deferring benefits makes more sense. They often make the same recommendation in just about every situation. This is a great example of advisors who are not skilled and knowledgeable financial planners as they tend to favor their own opinion over listening to every situation and recommending a strategy best fit to each client.
I believe it is very important for you to watch for this “one size fits all” recommendation as you look for a financial advisor to help you create a retirement income plan that is best for you. To determine what is best for your particular situation, it is important to understand how it will positively or negatively impact the other areas of your retirement planning goals in order to create the strategy that is best for you. In other words, there really is no “one size fits all” approach for how best to take your Social Security benefits.
Our next blog will discuss the trap most people fall into as they consider taking Social Security benefits.