Filing early provides you with an immediate source of guaranteed income. Delaying Social Security increases the benefit you’ll ultimately receive down the road. So when is the right time to file? The truth is, there’s no one right answer to that question because it depends on your individual circumstances.
Whatever you ultimately choose, it’s important to consider your options carefully. It may be one of the most important decisions you make affecting your retirement. Once you decide to file, you can’t change your mind.
Below are a few things you may want to take into account as you prepare to make this major decision.
Do you need the money now?
It’s important to differentiate between wanting the extra income now and actually needing it. If you truly have a need for the money and have no other income options, this can be a compelling reason to file as soon as possible. After all, there’s little sense in living in need now just so you can get a higher payment in the future.
If you don’t really need the income, however, you may be better served by waiting. The reason for this is your benefits will increase 8 percent for each year you delay filing after you’ve reached full retirement age until age 70.1 If you’re able to hold off, you can increase the amount of your monthly Social Security check once you do file.
What’s your health status?
There may be little point in waiting to file for Social Security if you don’t expect to live long enough to enjoy the benefit for more than a few years. This might be the case if you have a chronic long-term health issue that could shorten your life, such as heart disease or cancer, or a family history of certain ailments causing early death.
However, it may not be wise to make this judgment based on family history alone. Advances in modern medicine are giving people with these types of health problems longer lifetimes than ever.
Can you utilize the spousal benefit?
If one spouse has had less career earnings than the other during your marriage, you may be able to take advantage of a spousal benefit. If you were the lesser wage earner, this strategy lets you receive a Social Security benefit based on your spouse’s income rather than your own.
You may be able to take advantage of this option to maximize your benefits. For instance, you could file as early as possible while your spouse delays. Then, once your spouse files, you can switch to the spousal benefit, thereby increasing the amount of your income. You and your spouse may want to consult your financial professional and strategize together to find the optimal choice to fit your needs.
Are you as financially fit as you thought when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of Social Security? Give us a call at DSM Financial to discuss your retirement income options and create a strategy that works for you.
Licensed Insurance Professional. Advisory Services offered through Change Path LLC an Investment Advisor. DSM Financial and Change Path LLC are not affiliated.
The material is not intended to be legal or tax advice. The insurance agent can provide information, but not advice related to social security benefits. Clients should seek guidance from the Social Security Administration regarding their particular situation. The insurance agent may be able to identify potential retirement income gaps and may introduce insurance products, such as an annuity, as a potential solution. Social Security benefit payout rates can and will change at the sole discretion of the Social Security Administration. For more information, please consult a local Social Security Administration office, or visit www.ssa.gov
This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice.
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