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Maximizing the Social Security payments may mean the difference between poverty and a relatively comfortable retirement. Life-expectancies have increased dramatically over the years, and 50% of the people will live longer than their life-expectancy by definition, and some much longer.

The best strategy for taking Social Security depends a lot on personal situations

First consider working longer in order to delay the start of Social Security. Starting a year later can increase payments by as much as 8% each year. Those increased amounts are inflation adjusted to boot.

An alternative to working longer is to use enough savings to get the same income as will come later from Social Security. These amounts can be sizable. A good approximation for the amount of savings required is the annual amount that will come from Social Security at the older age (in today’s dollar values as are quoted by the SSA) multiplied by the years of delay.

It seldom pays to start Social Security before a person’s full-retirement-age (FRA)

It seldom pays to start Social Security before a person’s full-retirement-age (FRA)which is a little over 66 for most people. This is especially true if continuing to work because people can lose as much as $1 of Social Security for every $2 of earned income over about $15,000.

For most couples where at least one partner will live past 80, it’s hard to beat getting over 70% more than starting Social Security early if the primary wage earner delays until 70 and the low-wage-earning spouse begins at the low earner’s FRA. Depending on age differences between spouses, payments can be enhanced using File & Suspend or simply Suspend strategies to maximize spousal benefits while the primary wage earner delays the start past the FRA. These alternatives are described on

When both spouses are working and the lower income spouse’s FRA benefit is more than 50% of the higher income spouse’s FRA, then one of the spouses may increase the couple’s total benefits by filing a Restricted Application to get a spousal benefit and then later draw a larger benefit by delaying the start till as much as age 70.

Don’t Navigate Retirement Alone: Just Ask Freeman

Knowing what your options are is a huge part of decreasing the stress of retirement planning. So, let me help you navigate your retirement strategy so you never out live your resources and you keep your money safe! Call me at 866.471.7233 for a free consultation on how to get started.