Did you know that if you have assets worth $500,000 or more at retirement, Social Security will make up half of your income during retirement? So, it’s only natural to want to get the most out of Social Security.
There’s just one problem: the Social Security code is a massive maze of confusing, seemingly contradictory rules. All told, there are over 70,000 different ways to collect Social Security, making it difficult to know what the best way to collect you Social Security income is. Because everyone's situation is different, you need a strategy that fits your unique needs.
For example, deciding when you or your spouse starts collecting can make a big difference in your collection strategy. Even a couple of years’ age difference between you and your spouse will call for a different strategy.
To make matters even more difficult, Social Security agents are prohibited from giving claiming advice, so they cannot help you maximize your earnings from Social Security.
Thayer Partners, LLC works with you to help you optimize your Social Security claiming strategy so that you can maximize your income. Here are some common claiming strategies that help you maximize what you get from Social Security:
- Delaying Collection of Income. One popular strategy for maximizing Social Security income is to wait until hitting age 65 to file for Social Security, but immediately suspend benefits. Then, you would allow your benefits to grow over the next five years. Once you hit 70, you would begin collecting again, but at a rate that would be higher than if you had started collecting as soon as you were eligible.
- Collecting Spousal Income even AFTER a Divorce. Many retirees think that, just because they divorced their spouse, they automatically lose any Social Security income that they would have had based on that marriage. Actually, there are exceptions to this rule that allow you to collect Social Security benefits based on an ex-spouse’s earnings history without impacting their benefits. Better yet, your ex can’t block you.
- Collect Spousal income While Delaying Yours. One useful trick for maximizing your Social Security benefits while using the delayed collection strategy is to claim spousal benefits while you and your spouse both suspend your primary benefit. Which spouse claims the spousal income should be determined by whichever one would provide the highest monthly check. Your Social Security payments (and your spouse’s) will continue to grow under the delayed payment strategy.
While these strategies can help you maximize your retirement income, it’s important to remember that the Social Security code is very complicated, and it does change from time to time. This is why it’s important to consult with a retirement planning expert, because a claiming strategy that works for one person might not be the best one for you.
For example, the benefits for claiming spousal benefits after a divorce have certain conditions attached, such as needing to have been married for at least ten years, and being able to supply applicable marriage certificates and divorce decrees.
Thayer partners is here to help you navigate the maze of the Social Security system with expert advice and insights gained from years of helping people just like you maximize their retirement income. We often help people collect thousands of dollars more per year, and a few clients may make an extra $100,000 over what they would have made during retirement thanks to our help.
Find out how we can help you today.