Our Social Security Maximization Strategy

Last week, I had a discussion with a Social Security expert and have revised our strategy for when to take Social Security benefits.   Until this call, I was analyzing option on how to maximize our total benefits received based mainly on when I started taking Social Security benefits.   The analysis showed that it was financially superior for me to start taking benefits at 62..

The expert offered a different strategy: Maximize the higher income benefit first and then maximize total benefits received.   Her point was that the higher income benefit would be the ONLY benefit if one of the couple passed away.  Therefore, it would be important to ensure the higher benefit is as close to the maximum as possible.  From her experience, the surviving spouse (often the woman) was shocked when she learned how low the survivor's benefit was because the retirement benefit was started at 62.

However, while waiting to maximize benefits, my spouse can start her Social Security benefits at 62, and thereby enabling us to collect auxiliary benefits due to minor children.  I had not considered this approach prior to consulting with the expert.

So my new strategy is to wait until 70 before starting my retirement benefits.    This will maximize our retirement benefits when one spouse passes away.  In addition, we will plan to have my spouse start her reduced benefits at 62, which will give us some Social Security income prior to me turning 70.

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This is not financial, retirement or Social Security advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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