One Decision Can Impact Your Retirement By Tens Of Thousands Of Dollar

How much you receive from Social Security depends on three primary factors:

1. Your earnings record
2. When you elect
3. How long you expect to live

Since you can’t go back and change your earnings record, and you have minimal control over how long you live, calculating an expected lifetime benefit largely hinges on when and how you elect benefits. In theory, if you elect early, you will get a smaller benefit for a longer period of time. If you elect later, you will get a larger benefit for a shorter period of time. Single people can do a simple “break-even” analysis to determine whether to take early or wait. But for married couples, the decision is much more complex.


What’s at Stake?

The difference between the best and worst possible decision of when to elect Social Security can be well over $100,000! Case Study: A 62-year-old couple with one above average earner (PIA $1,800) and a lesser earning spouse (PIA $1,000), who both live to average life expectancy could lose over $60,000 in family benefits by making the worst
possible decision for when to take Social Security.

  • - If they both elect at age 62, they could be losing over $50,000.
  • - If they both elect at age 66, this couple could still be leaving $30,000 on the table.
  • - Simply delaying benefits isn’t the answer either. If they both delay to 70, they could be losing over $40,000.

What if you could analyze hundreds of election age combinations and determine which was the best option for you?


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