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Thayer Partners Blog

3 Reasons You’d Be Crazy Not to Consult a Social Security Expert

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 8, 2015 3:30:00 PM / by Chris Wilmerding

Chris Wilmerding

For most Americans, Social Security will be the single largest part of their retirement portfolio, their primary source of income after they leave the working world behind to enjoy their golden years.

Yet, despite how important Social Security income (sometimes abbreviated SSI) will be for them, far too many Americans fail to seek proper assistance in managing this major source of retirement income. Instead, they try to unravel the Gordian Knot of the Social Security Administration (SSA) alone; and with no Alexander the Great on hand to show them the shortcut to success.

Personally, I would strongly advise anyone, regardless of personal wealth or their retirement investments, to seek out the advice of a Social Security expert.

Why consult an expert? Well, frankly, it’d be a little crazy not to consult an expert. Here are three reasons why you’d be crazy not to consult a Social Security expert:

Social Security is Incredibly Complicated


There’s a reason why I likened the SSA to the Gordian Knot of legend; it’s a massive, over-complicated tangled mess that would be impossible for someone without exceptional skill, talent, and training to unravel alone.

All told, there are over 70,000 different ways to collect income from the Social Security system. There are many variables that might affect your collection strategy, such as your:

  • Age
  • Health
  • Marital status
  • Career income and contributions to Social Security
  • Disability of yourself or a family member

Just to name a few of the things that can affect your income collection strategy. Because there are so many variables, a collection strategy that works for one person might now be good for another person.

In short, following a few generic “canned” strategies isn’t likely to give you the most beneficial Social Security income during your retirement.

You Could Add Thousands to Your Total Retirement Income with a Simple Consultation

If someone put you in front of a table stacked with money, and told you it was all yours (in fact, you’ve been paying into it your whole life) to take home and use for your retirement, would you want to leave any of that money on the table?

Well, if you aren’t getting help optimizing your Social Security income, that’s pretty much exactly what you’re doing. You paid into Social Security your whole working adult life to set aside money for the day you’d retire, and it’s only natural to want to get as large a return as you possibly can.

Without some help picking out the best income collection strategy to meet your situation, you’ll probably wind up leaving more money than you’d think on the table.

How much? Well, that’s hard to say without an actual assessment of your situation.

However, based on past experience, I can say that it’s easy for many prospective retirees to add hundreds of dollars to their monthly income in retirement by making a few simple tweaks. Some retirees have, over the course of their retirement, increased their retirement income by more than $100,000!

Would you want to leave $100,000 on the table, unused, rather than be able to use it for the benefit of yourself or your family? Most likely not.

Consulting a Social Security expert can help you find out how to get that extra money for your retirement.

Social Security is a Major Income Source—Even for Millionaires

Even if you’re rich and have a big investment portfolio, SSI will be an enormous income source for your retirement. Because of this, you really ought to consult with an expert, because you likely have a lot of money riding on maximizing your Social Security income.

Here’s some math for thought:

If you have a $1,000,000 retirement portfolio, and take 4% of that amount every year for household income in retirement, that’s $40,000/year.

To walk you through a simple scenario—If you’re married and retired at age 66 in 2015 with the maximum Social Security income, you would earn $31,956, and the minimum your spouse would collect on her spousal benefit is $15,978. That’s a MINIMUM total of $47,934, which is likely to be more than what you make off of your million-dollar investment portfolio.

Funny thing is, this is without even reviewing ways to maximize your income from Social Security. So, imagine how much more your income could be if you did consult an expert.

With this in mind, why would you wait any longer to start finding ways to maximize your Social Security income? 

Social Security Myths

Topics: Social Security

Chris Wilmerding

Written by Chris Wilmerding

Chris Wilmerding is Principal of Thayer Partners, an independent investment management firm located in Westwood, MA providing financial planning and wealth management counsel to individuals and their families.

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