Not too long-ago Lisa Wallace, the public affairs specialist from the Social Security office was on my radio show Simply Financial that airs each Saturday morning at 11:30 here in Charlotte on 102.5FM or 610AM. You can listen to the show below and as you will find out, it has many great insights about your Social Security benefits.
After the show I started thinking about all the things that we all need to get in order before we begin our benefits. There are myths that most people believe about Social Security many things that are very important to understand before applying for your benefits.
Today you get to learn what I believe is vital knowledge to possess to maximize your Social Security benefits.
First Things First
The best place to start regarding your Social Security benefits is directly with that branch of government. Have you noticed that you do not receive any more Social Security statements in the mail? Those stopped years ago, and they have no plans on mailing them to you anymore. If you want to see what your benefits are estimated to be then you need to go to their website, ssa.gov. You will need to create an online account, but don’t worry that have great instructions and you can find them here.
How to Create an Online Account: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10540.pdf
The Social Security website is deep with knowledge regarding you benefits, it better be, right? Most government websites are horrible but this one is a gem, packed full of great content and insight. The have another document on their site that will explain to you what you can find on their website and I think you will find it very informative. You can find that right here.
What You Can Do Online: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10121.pdf
Part of the Whole Picture
You Social Security benefits are a part of your retirement income, so when you pan to maximize your benefits, you need to take everything else in your financial life into consideration. If you are like most, then you have some 401k, IRA and other assets in your life. You may have a pension or lump sum to consider. Additionally, you may need to decide if you need to be concerned about long-term care costs that could be in your future. There are so many factors that come into play that make it very difficult to decide when to take, let alone maximize, your benefits.
These are the exact reason I believe you CANNOT decide to take your benefits without first putting together a retirement income plan. We here at Insight Folios use a planning system called Simplicitree. It is not like other planning systems on the market. Most planning systems on the market make assumptions, where as our planning system shows results. If you want to see the implications of an investment decision, then look no further than Simplicitree.
If you want to have a Simplicitree plan put together for you to help you figure out how you can maximize your Social Security benefits, then contact us through this site and ask for one.
There are a few more gems on the Social Security website that I want to draw to your attention. The fist one has to do with your future retirement. It can be overwhelming to most people as it’s hard to know where to start. The Social Security administration has put together a simple four-page checklist to help you begin your research of your Social Security benefits. That document can be found here.
Your Retirement Checklist: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10377.pdf
The last link I am going to leave you with is their retirement benefits page. You can apply for your benefits right from this page as well as help you sift through some of the questions that may be swirling around your head. Now be careful as there are plenty of links that can take you down rabbit trails! You can find that page right here.
Retirement Benefits Webpage: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/