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Secrets of Social Security | My Money Track

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Secrets of Social Security

The difference between the right and wrong filing strategy could cost a married couple over $100,000 in lifetime benefits.

What you don’t know can cost you dearly. One of the most important thing for retirees and baby boomers alike is learning all the in’s and out’s of benefit programs like social security and Medicare. Significant amounts of money can easily be “left on the table” if you and your spouse aren’t up to speed on the tips and tricks of filing for social security benefits.

willrogers2

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.

– Will Rogers

How did we get so smart? It wasn’t easy… My Money Track founder, Michael Ham has worked with wealthy individuals for 27 years specifically helping them attain personal financial independence. A reformed stock broker from back in the 1980’s and 1990’s Michael has learned first hand how it feels to see someone blow themselves up financially.

The most important secrets to being happy and financially fulfilled are…

  • 1. Get your money straight
  • 2. Get your budget set
  • 3. Get your life back

Without a doubt, the most important key for a fulfilled life is to know exactly how much money you will have coming in each month. Once this is determined, it is imperative that you live within this monthly income amount.

Aesop-fables-rare-Book-bookcoverSocial Security is one of the most confusing benefits to figure out and know with certainty, you and your spouse’s best strategy. And for many, it is a significant part of their retirement plan for monthly income. Too often the professional financial planner will use hypotheticals of your investment portfolio future performance and expected income.

Hypothetical’s and fairy tales are often sweet and comforting but also totally useless in “real life” money management. Aesop and his fables are interesting entertainment but Baby Boomers nearing retirement age need sage wisdom and advice; not feel good philosophy. Today Baby Boomers are planning on working much later in life due to many reasons, with “need” being the most common.

Hope is not an investment plan. Vision without action is a dream and action without direction or vision is a waste of time; especially in planning for future income.

Here’s my story about my aunt:
She and my uncle are both nearly 66 years old and married for 44 years (yes… to each other! Actually high school sweethearts) and both have worked their entire life’s; he consistently earning more than she. She recently lost her job but luckily has found another one but now earning much less than in her previous job. My aunt was doubly bummed out because she thought that taking a job earning less money would negatively impact her social security retirement benefit.

Fact #1: Social Security uses the best or highest 35 years of income; not the most recent years. So, you can figure on calculating the top 35 years of your working life and then averaging the income to get an idea of how current earnings level may affect your future social security check.
Fact #2: My aunt’s current lower earning job is STILL paying more than she earned 35 years ago. Thus, the year(s) she is working now will “knock out” and replace any years from the past 35 that were lower! In her case, working will increase her future social security retirement income.

Then I helped my aunt and uncle contact social security and asked about the “elusive and secretive” file and suspend strategy. We were told that my uncle (who earns much more and has a larger monthly benefit than his spouse) needed to file for his benefit, even though he had no intention of retiring. We were also told that he must be “entitled,” (meaning receiving social security benefits, which was a “new” wrinkle to me) for his spouse to claim her “spousal benefit.” No problem, my uncle filed, then on the same day my aunt filed for her spousal benefit and one month later, my uncle “suspended” his benefit.

So what was the end result of all this activity?

logo-fb-shareThe end result is literally amazing. My aunt is now receiving more monthly income than before she lost her previous job and my uncle’s future social security retirement income benefit is increasing every year by almost 8 percent! Her spousal benefit is an amount equal to half of my uncle’s current benefit but does NOT subtract or reduce what he is entitled to receive now or later. And assuming he dies before my aunt, she may “Step Up,” to his full amount under survivor spouse rules or opt later for her own benefit if it exceeds her spousal benefit. That’s a win-win-win deal. It gets better, if for some reason they change their mind about this strategy (who knows, they may win the lottery) they can simply repay the income she received without any penalty, interest or income taxes due, for up to twelve months.

Few times in life are we given a “Free Look” or opportunity to use the system and its rules to our advantage and have a guaranteed out to reverse our decision if our circumstances change. If a lottery is won and I assume I am now their favorite nephew (but don’t get me started on the lottery being a “tax” on those who can’t do math or nepotism in our industry) I will get more money to manage. In the meantime they “feel” as if they’ve won the lottery of sorts, as they are receiving free, newfound monthly income.

By taking full advantage of the above “file and suspend” strategy and/or another even more discreet filing secret called the “double dip” strategy, could literally and significantly improve your life.

My Money Track will work with you individually to assist and guide you through the best social security filing strategies. If you are a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, go to this link at social security: http://socialsecurity.gov/pubs/ageincrease.htm to figure out your best strategy. Or simply call or email us, your local financial expert on social security. We offer complimentary workshops and hand outs on these life changing secret strategies.

Most baby boomers are totally unaware that there are more than 1,000 filing combinations when it comes to the timing and strategy of collecting social security benefits. My Money Track cannot help everyone… some will just refuse to be converted. But for those few we are able to help, we will significantly improve their life in the most positive way imaginable. Be brave, be bold and see if we can help you.


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