My biggest worry when I meet with a client for the first time is that they have already made their irrevocable Social Security benefits claim before we can help them establish a strategy. While there is no exact science to when and how you claim your Social Security benefits, there are certain considerations to make and tools to use.
When you go through a Social Security benefits analysis with the Carpenter team, we examine some key factors that are crucial to determining your claiming strategy:
Age. Full retirement age—the age you need to reach to receive all of your Social Security benefits—is determined by the year in which you were born. While this number is different for every client, one number does not change. Once you reach age 70, your Social Security benefits do not increase. So if you are approaching age 70, we can help you make your Social Security claim immediately.
If you elect to receive your benefits prior to age 70, you must consider what the break-even point is based on your life expectancy and current age. We calculate this for you and run models based on hypothetical situations to help you make a more informed decision.
Life expectancy. Life expectancy plays a role in how you claim your Social Security benefits as well as how you invest your retirement funds. While we all wish we had a crystal ball to predict the future, the reality is that we are making decisions based on educated guesses. To do this, our team runs hypothetical scenarios and analyzes important data points to estimate your life expectancy and inform your claiming strategy.
Information we leverage includes your current age, health, family health history, and activity levels. If you’re married, we also consider the age of your spouse and your spouse’s health history, and factor their Social Security benefit and life expectancy into developing your strategy.
Need. Lastly, we consider your income need. Psychologically, many people see that they have paid into Social Security all their lives. They cannot wait to get that money back from the government. However, when and how you claim your Social Security benefits cannot be an emotionally-based decision. The path to success comes from careful planning and solid execution. We help you analyze your claiming options based on your retirement income need to ensure that you make an optimal claiming decision.
Once we’ve examined these factors and gathered the right information, we utilize software to evaluate your claiming options and identify the most effective strategy for your unique financial situation. We do this because, when it comes to Social Security benefits analysis, we feel it’s best to take an analytical approach to help you make the most informed decision. The software we use lays out all of your claiming options, which helps us develop a custom plan to fit your needs.