Hi. I’m David Hovis, financial advisor at Hovis & Associates. One of the most important financial decisions you will ever make is when to claim your Social Security benefit. Make sure you give this decision the consideration it deserves by spending time understanding your options and the claiming rules.
Many people have preconceived ideas that are not correct. For example, you don’t HAVE to claim Social Security just because you retire and are eligible for Social Security benefits. And, you don’t HAVE to claim Social Security just because you turn 62. In fact, if you have money in savings or retirement accounts that you can draw income from in retirement, you may be better off DELAYING claiming your benefit.
In 2020, the earliest age that a person can claim their benefit is age 62. But that benefit at age 62 is REDUCED because you have not waited until your full retirement age. Now, Full retirement age is a technical term that is often misunderstood. It has nothing to do with the date you retire. It simply is the age you can get your full Social Security benefit, based upon the year you were born. Full retirement age means full retirement benefit. For those aging into Social Security now, full retirement age is between age 66 and 67.
Something else many are not aware of, is that if you wait to claim your benefit, your monthly dollar amount will continue to increase at approximately 8% a year until you reach age 70. That’s guaranteed growth to lock in a higher benefit. And that benefit will continue for the rest of your life. With people living longer today, you’re at greater risk of outliving your assets, so having the highest Social Security benefit possible is important.
If you are a married couple, you have even more considerations when it comes to claiming Social Security. Our recommendations for married couples center around maximizing the overall benefit for the couple as a whole. Married couples can each have benefits under their own earnings record, but they also have spousal benefits. Generally speaking, we recommend that if possible, it’s usually best for the highest wage earner to DELAY drawing Social Security as long as he or she can, but never past age 70. Even if the higher wage earner passes away, the surviving spouse can receive the higher of the two benefit amounts.
I recently read an article that estimated over 90% of people choose the wrong time to claim their benefits. Don’t be a part of that statistic. At Hovis & Associates, we help our clients plan for income in their retirement, and a big part of that, is maximizing their Social Security benefits. We want them to understand their options so they can make the best decision on this important piece of their retirement income puzzle.
Talk to you again soon.