Maximize Your Social Security

If like me, you're over 55 (way over!), you've probably received regular invitations in the mail to attend a seminar on Social Security from an advisor that is just dying to buy you lunch or dinner.

I always get a chuckle out of these because 1) I used to contemplate that marketing technique when I was starting out in the financial services industry, and 2) I'm glad I don't have to contemplate it any more. Here at Stout Bowman, we obtain new clients by referrals from our current clients, and the only way to do that successfully is to keep our current clients very happy with our services.

Anyway, back to Social Security. Like all good marketing campaigns, there is a modicum of truth to be found in these presentations. Yes, there are specific techniques you can use to increase the size of the check you receive every month from the Social Security Administration ("See How You Can Add Up to $1,000 a Month to Your Social Security!"). However, keep in mind that you won't be the only person or couple in the room, so the information presented will of necessity be generally applicable to all, but specific to none.

Thanks to the Internet, most people know that waiting to start your benefits results in a higher payout amount. At Stout Bowman, we take a different tack. First, using an analysis tool that takes your specific Social Security parameters (birth date, earnings history, and retirement date options) as input, as well as any spousal consideration that may apply, we calculate the dollar value of each of your options. We then use those results as input to your financial plan, so that the actual impact on your retirement can be properly assessed.

OK, you may not get a lunch or dinner out of it, but looking at your Social Security options analytically will pay off handsomely as you transition to your retirement years. For more information about Social Security planning, you can also read this article on our website or contact one of our financial advisors.