For many years I have known Peter as a very accomplished estate planning attorney who has worked on many sophisticated and elaborate strategies to maximize retirement savings and income.  When I heard he was now focusing on Social Security I was intrigued because that seems so simple compared to what he had been doing.

Turns out, it’s just not that simple.  In fact, it’s surprisingly complicated, but Peter is very clear and thorough, and has developed his usual deep insights into the many nuances of the program.  We had him take a look at our situation and he was remarkably helpful in describing several strategies we should consider to optimize our decisions about when and how each of us should take our Social Security benefits.

He customizes his work to your specific circumstances and his insights will help you make the most appropriate decision for your family.  He doesn’t waste any time either so I found the process refreshingly simple yet impactful.

I highly recommend Peter to anyone approaching Social Security retirement age.

Thomas H. MacLeay

Chairman, Board of Directors, National Life Group

Peter’s consulting services are an absolute MUST for anyone who is engaged in retirement planning or getting ready to claim Social Security benefits.  Had I availed myself of this type of assistance at the appropriate time, it would have meant an additional $24,000 to me and my wife over a four-year period.

In fact, even if I had approached him halfway through that four-year period, we would have been able to recover about $15,000.  But he had not yet begun his practice at that time, and I am not familiar with anyone else who does this kind of work.

Peter’s creative approach to claiming strategies and encyclopedic knowledge of this subject area goes into every handcrafted report he prepares for his clients, resulting in an incredible value for individuals and couples of all descriptions.

I also had the opportunity to attend Peter’s presentation to an audience of over 100 people at the Vermont State Employees Credit Union annual meeting in March 2014.  The one word that comes immediately to mind is: COMPELLING!

Jerome “Jerry” Diamond

Attorney

I can’t thank you adequately for your swift, professional and excellent advice on our rather tricky Social Security question.  Your answer was creative, not obvious, and especially timely. You obviously are the “go to” person for anyone with Social Security issues.  It’s wonderful to speak with someone who knows their stuff – and is creative and super-timely to boot!

I have over thirty years’ experience in financial planning with clients throughout Vermont, and wish I had known of your services many years earlier.  You’d have saved me countless gray hairs, and my clients significant sums of money.  Thank you for providing such a valuable service, and for doing it so beautifully.

Very much obliged to you,

Amy Leavitt

Former CFP and Principal, Leavitt Associates

Optimize Your Social Security Benefits

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Social Security Seminars

[I presented a webinar sponsored by The Small Business Council of America on September 20, 2012.  I repeated that seminar live before the SBCA Board of Directors meeting in Orlando on January 26, 2013.  Following is the email that was sent out to the Board by Paula Calimafde, Chair of the SBCA, announcing the January event:

“When Peter Weinbaum presented his recent Social Security webinar for the SBCA on September 20 we had more than 50 lines open.  The comments we received were replete with words like “terrific,” “excellent,” “great,” and “very informative.”  Some who attended the webinar ended up retaining Peter to do analyses of their own Social Security retirement benefits.”

“This next presentation will be an updated version of the webinar with some new case stories.  The material is compelling, and you are almost guaranteed to learn something new even if you attended the webinar.  If you didn’t listen to the webinar, I can guarantee you that you’ll learn tons!  Plus you get to see Peter in person which has to be even better than his webinar – which was great!”

“Terrific presentation!”

Ronald D. Bassey (Attorney/CPA), Bassey and Selesko PLC, 27777 Franklin Rd., Ste. 1400, Southfield, Michigan  48034

“Thanks so much for the excellent presentation. I would like you to consider putting on this presentation for CPAs and estate planning attorneys.”

Joel Koenig, Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP), Accredited Estate Planner (AEP),  Managing Member, The Koenig Group, LLC and The Institute for Wealth Planning, LLC, 2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 640, Chevy, Chase, MD  20815

“That was a great seminar.  Since my husband and I are in exactly the positions Peter was discussing it was very informative and thought provoking.  We would like to consult with Peter to figure out what to do ourselves.”

Carol L. Myers, Attorney at Law, 200 South Orange Ave.,Sarasota, FL 34236

“Very informative seminar.  Excellent presentation.”  

D. Stephen Boner, Attorney at Law, Boner Stern & Sipple, APC, 591 Camino de la Reina, Suite 710, San Diego, CA 92108

“Great job!  Very informative and well done.  I will be in touch with you as cases arise – like my own!”  

Ronald J. Waldheger, Esq., Waldheger • Coyne  L.P.A., 1991 Crocker Rd. #550, Cleveland, OH 44145

 [In November 2012 – during the same week that Hurricane Sandy hit Philadelphia – I presented a seminar to about 50 people at a private client appreciation event sponsored by Key Advisors Group, an organization of financial services professionals.  The next morning I presented a CLE/CPE seminar for 110 attorneys and CPAs.  (Actually 150 attorneys and CPAs had signed up prior to the storm, but nearly a third of them had to cancel.)  Following is an excerpt from an email that Nicholas Mingone, Managing Director of Key Advisors, sent to his counterparts around the country:

“After hearing Peter Weinbaum’s presentation this past August on Social Security planning, we decided to plan our own event.  It turned out to be a home run!  110 Accountants and Attorneys attended our seminar this past Friday [November 2, 2012, where we offered 2 hours of continuing education credit.  It was an informative and interactive morning with these professionals.  Thursday night we did the same presentation with 50 clients and soon-to-be clients that was at least as good – if not better!  The evaluation sheets we received were full of positive comments.”

[Here’s what one attendee had to say following the live January presentation before the SBCA Board meeting:  

“I attended a webinar Peter did last year for the Small Business Council of America, as well a live presentation he did in Orlando this year and found the material absolutely fascinating.  I don’t consider myself anything of a Social Security expert, but I couldn’t believe how much I learned from him.  If I come across an employer with an appropriate workforce, I will definitely pass along a strong recommendation that they contact Peter to provide some Social Security education and individualized advice.”

Gary Kushner, SPHR, CBP – President and CEO, Kushner & Company, HR and Organizational Architects, Portage, Michigan

[I recently presented a 2-hour Continuing Education program for CPAs, sponsored by NPA Financial, LLC.

“Thank you for speaking at our event in Saratoga Springs.  It certainly was a successful program and your participation was central to that success.  Not only did I enjoy and find your presentation helpful and informative, but many of the CPAs at our program went out of their way to say how helpful your presentation was for them – and potentially for their clients.  Several of them remarked that they were surprised you could do so much for their clients on a consulting basis for such a reasonable fee.”

Richard Frontera, CFP®, President, NPA Financial, LLC, 1407 Rte. 9, Bldg. 4, 2nd Floor, Clifton Park, NY 12065

[On May 1, 2013, I presented a public seminar in Vergennes, Vermont, population ~ 2,600.  This is the letter I received from the seminar sponsor.

Peter,

You truly are the “Social Security Maven”.  Thank you for a wonderful presentation last Wednesday.  Our deciding to put this together in just 3 short weeks and having 59 people attend on one of the first warm evenings of spring is proof of the fact that folks are concerned with their Social Security future.  It is amazing how a presentation involving so many numbers can just fly by.  You certainly opened their eyes and illustrated to them that Social Security is not just about deciding to take it at 62 or 66.  Your modest fee to analyze their individual options is probably the best money they will ever spend.

We will definitely plan to do another one in the fall and will be in touch with you to set up the details. 

Thanks again for sharing your vast knowledge on this subject.

Michael Donnelly, Landmark Financial Services, Vergennes, VT

“I am a 64-year-old attorney employed by the State of Vermont; my wife August Burns is the Executive Director of Grounds for Health, an international cervical cancer program.  

“I thought I understood Social Security well enough to make decisions for the two of us about when to apply for retirement benefits, but August and I chose to meet with Peter Weinbaum anyway, just to be sure we were moving in the right direction.  We’re really glad we did. 

“Peter sat down with us and, in a patient and friendly way, gathered the facts about our employment history, our work plans, and our thoughts for the future.  He explained generally what our options might be and then, in the week that followed our meeting, put together a personalized report setting out our two major options for when to begin collecting Social Security.  The report was clear and extraordinarily helpful, just as Peter was in person.  At this point we know how best to move forward.  If we hadn’t met with Peter, I believe we could easily have chosen a course that would have meant substantially less in the way of retirement and spousal benefits than we’re entitled to. 

“I strongly recommend Peter’s services to my friends and peers!”

Elliot Burg

Middlesex, Vermont

“During the fall of 2012, I attended a seminar Peter presented called Optimizing Social Security Benefits. When the seminar had ended, I suggested that he should change the title to: I Didn’t Know You Could Do THAT With Social Security! – which pretty much captured the response of the audience.  Shortly thereafter, I arranged to have Peter do an analysis for me and my wife. 

“Since I am already collecting my full age 66 benefit – and have no desire to change that – there were not going to be any options for me personally.  However my wife Emily is some 8 years younger than I – and for her it is a different story.  Peter presented us with three viable strategies which we are still evaluating. We feel well armed with a wealth of information we certainly would not have had otherwise.

“I’ve since recommended Peter’s services to several friends; I know for a fact that none of them have the slightest idea about what they CAN do with Social Security.  I’m ‘waiting in the wings’ to find out… ”

Budd & Emily Shedaker

“The tables and explanations provided by Peter were very clear, and I now understand the impact of the various filing strategies.  I never realized that I could collect spousal benefits based on my wife’s record!  It was nice to have this service to sort out what is confusing, since there are literally hundreds of choices.  I would recommend this service to anyone who is facing these social security questions and is not sure what to do.”

Dr. Robert Pietrusko

Philadelphia, PA

 “I am 67 year-old lawyer practicing in Barre, Vermont.  My wife Jayne (now 62) has been working part-time as a therapist.  When we first began talking with Peter Weinbaum about this subject, I had already decided it would be best to wait until I was 70 to receive my Social Security benefits.   Jayne was ready to retire and wanted to apply for her benefits as soon as she reached 62. 

“Peter is incredibly knowledgeable about Social Security rules and regulations.  He explained the multiple options we had available, helping to make what could have been a difficult decision very easy.  Ultimately, he showed us how we could do exactly what we wanted – PLUS get an additional $15,000 in benefits for me before I reach age 70!

“When we went into the local Social Security Administration office to do the paperwork, the SSA representative we met with said that I would be entitled to only 75% of what Peter said I would receive.  Peter followed up instantly by providing the citation to the appropriate Social Security rules; the SSA representative spoke with his supervisor and agreed that Peter had been correct. 

I continue to recommend the Social Security Maven to my friends and clients who are trying to figure out their own Social Security benefits.  Using Peter as a resource turned out to be a really smart decision for us.” 

Richard Rubin and Jayne Israel

Plainfield, VT

 “I recently contacted Peter upon the recommendation of a friend to help me and my husband better understand our Social Security options.  

“When I asked him about pricing I really liked his response.  He said that he would briefly review our Social Security statements and our answers to his short questionnaire, which included our current ideas for claiming Social Security benefits.  If at that point he didn’t think he could show us attractive options that would more than pay back his fee, he would let us know up front without charging a fee rather than continuing with his analysis and report.

“Before I completed the questionnaire I hadn’t thought too much about what our objectives were for our Social Security benefits.  But once he asked the questions it made so much sense that it was important to do that.

“Peter sent his report when he said he would – within a few days of my sending him our information.  The report was very clear and easy to understand.  It laid out options I did not even know existed.  Three of these options would provide me with more current income at 66 than I had thought was possible while still maximizing my age 70 income.

“Peter also emphasized that our Social Security decisions needed to be made in the context of an overall financial plan, and he really encouraged us to find a financial advisor to help us with that.

“Overall the process was quick, easy to understand and most importantly provided value added. I clearly would have left money on the table, as they say, if I hadn’t taken advantage of this service that Peter provides.”

Ann Dehner

Vermont

“As is the case for many other baby boomers who are at or nearing retirement age, Social Security represents the only substantial annuity type benefit I will receive.  And since Social Security benefits will constitute a vital part of our retirement income, I felt that it would be very important for my wife and me to take great care in determining how to optimize those benefits. 

I am an Enrolled Actuary with over 30 years of experience in the pension world.  I had attended a webinar that Peter presented last fall, and based on what I learned I created a reasonably sophisticated claiming strategy for me and my wife.  I decided to run it by Peter just to confirm that I hadn’t missed something; he suggested that I provide him with the usual information that he requires to do an analysis, which I promptly did. 

Noting that my top priority was to maximize combined monthly income after my wife reaches age 70, Peter came up with a strategy that generated 19% more income after her age 70 than my strategy had been able to produce!  He provided me with a very clear and comprehensive written report showing several viable strategies that we could use to optimize our Social Security benefits. 

Now I believe that the vast majority of those at or approaching Social Security eligibility could benefit immensely from the kind of work he does.  I plan to recommend Peter to all my colleagues and friends so that they too may make informed decisions regarding their Social Security benefits.

Peter – Thank you very much!”

Bill Miller

Enrolled Actuary, Danziger & Markhoff LLP

“Peter’s report was well done, thorough and valuable, as was my follow-up discussion with him.  To share one person’s experience in dealing with Peter, I can tell you that he could not have been more cooperative, more responsive, or more accommodating.  I sent my thanks to the financial advisors who referred him to us.” 

Fred Fromhold

Attorney, Villanova, PA

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