Making the Most of Social Security

by Matt Ahrens

Generally speaking, financial advisors are never supposed to use the word “Guaranteed.”  The use of this ‘G’ word makes compliance officers tremble in fear.  Regulators are on high alert whenever the word guaranteed is used by investment individuals especially since it's been so abused over time.  Yet when it comes to the topic of Social Security…wait for it…I GUARANTEE you’ll regret not doing your homework.

55% of men and 65% of women take Social Security at the earliest possible date which is age 62.  If your budget requires you to do this, then you made the right decision.  However, if you have the financial flexibility to postpone to your max issue age or age 70, then you will be doing your own version of the happy dance.

Check out this quick 3-minute video to help you better understand Social Security benefits: Social Security: It Pays to Wait 

We understand that everyone’s situation is different.  So we are not asking our clients to maximize their benefits, but we do want you to optimize it.  We can work with you to determine the right Social Security benefit for you based upon your retirement assets, withdrawal rates, life expectancy, etc. 

Recently we had a spry 66-year-old in our office whose spouse was taking Social Security benefits, but they wanted to wait until age 70 to start taking their own benefits.  It’s a great idea to defer to age 70 because your Social Security benefits are guaranteed to increase 8% annually until you reach age 70 plus any cost of living adjustments.  The problem is that since she was at her full retirement age she could file a restricted application for benefits, take half of her husband’s benefits every month and allow her own benefit to continue to grow until age 70.  She was leaving $900 on the table every month in free money.

Studies show that Americans want to plan for their Social Security benefits, but often times the details seem overwhelming or they don’t know which option to pick.  At Integrity Advisory, we have started hosting free seminars for our clients, their friends, coworkers and families because we want you to be both informed and comfortable with your decision.

You probably receive postcards in the mail all the time for Social Security seminars at fancy restaurants.  Trust me when I say this is not what we are doing.  Most of those seminars are selling annuities where they can pay for the entire seminar if one person bites.  Integrity Advisory does not sell these products because any product that pays the representative a large commission makes you wonder who is really receiving the benefit.  Our seminars are educational only and our first seminar is November 7th at 9:30 AM in Overland Park.  You can view our invitation here

We would love if you could join us and we would really appreciate you referring this seminar to any friends or family members that you think may be a fit.  It will be worth your time.  I GUARANTEE it! 

November 1 Kicks Off Open Enrollment for Health Marketplaces

Beginning November 1, 2015, individuals (including their families) may apply for new health insurance or switch to a different health-care plan through a Health Insurance Marketplace.  The open enrollment period ends January 31, 2016. 

Individuals can use Health Insurance Marketplaces to compare health plans for benefits and price, and select a plan that fits their needs.  Individuals have until December 15, 2015, to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to start January 1, 2016.  Coverage starts February 1, 2016, for those enrolling in or changing plans between January 2, 2016, and January 15, 2016.  Enrollments or changes between January 16 and January 31 take effect  March 1, 2016.

For those failing to meet the January 31 deadline, the only way to enroll in a health plan through a marketplace is by qualifying for a special enrollment period, which is the 60-day period following certain life events that involve a change in family status (for example, marriage or birth of a child) or loss of other health coverage.  Job-based plans must provide a special enrollment period of 30 days.

To learn more about Health Insurance Marketplaces, refer to the government site, www.healthcare.gov.

Quotes

“When we played, World Series checks meant something.  Now all they do is screw your taxes.”

                   Don Drysdale

"My pat line about the Cubs and payroll is that the amount of merchandise the Cubs would sell off a world series championship would more than cover for a big payroll."

                   Billy Corgan

“The only reason I don’t like playing in the World Series is I can’t watch myself play.”

                   Reggie Jackson

Quotes selected by the IAG Staff

“When things aren't going your way, funny things happen, and it's not much funnier than that.”

                    Ned Yost

 “My biggest moment was winning the World Series because everyone in my town was able to feel he was a world champion.”

                     Johnny Bench

 

Happy Halloween

 

Tony Moeller, CPA

The information listed in this commentary is a compilation of various publicly available sources and is for informational purposes only. It is not a recommendation or solicitation of any particular investment or strategy. A risk of loss is involved with investments in the stock and bond markets.

If you enjoy the commentary and believe others may benefit or find it of interest, please feel free to forward it on. Also, interested individuals can contact us, and we will be happy to add them to our mailing list.

 

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