Spousal Planning for Social Security Benefits

Spousal claiming strategies are among the most complex, but fruitful areas to consider for couples who are at, or approaching, Social Security eligibility age.  An article of this size can barely scratch the surface, but in it I will identify and illustrate a few of the major issues and strategies. (more…)

Why I Don’t Tell People What They Should Do About Social Security

If I had to describe my practice in one brief paragraph, I would say I have four principal areas of focus:

 1.      Raising awareness about the complexity of the Social Security system and the opportunities it affords – by writing about the topic and presenting seminars

2.      Analyzing an individual’s or couple’s Social Security picture in light of their expressed priorities

3.      Explaining the most promising options available to them

4.      Encouraging them to make their decisions with the help of their financial advisor

What I DON’T do is tell them what they “should” do.  read more


How to Obtain Your Social Security Statement (Newly Revised)

How to Obtain Your Social Security Statement

If you are approaching eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits – or are already past age 62 – you are used to receiving your latest statement in the mail every year.  You may or may not have noticed that you didn’t receive one in 2011, but depending on how close you were to filing for benefits you may not have cared very much either way.

Getting Your Current Statement

The Social Security Administration stopped mailing statements in 2011 as part of a cost-cutting effort, but resumed sending them in 2012 to people over age 60.  I have recently learned that the mailed statement program will gradually go the way of the dinosaur, and that eventually we will all be required to obtain our statements online.  2012 also marked the launch of an SSA online initiative, which includes the opportunity for most of us to create an “account” and obtain our own statements on the SSA website. 

I set up my account sometime last year and hadn’t been back there since September 2012 – until today.  I went back today after I learned that it’s getting tougher to create one’s own account; I wanted to see if it would be tougher to get back in.

In 2013 SSA launched an even newer online initiative called my Social Security, which is intended to become a versatile portal for all things Social Security – and some things Medicare.   (more…)