People may not know that the Social Security representative you meet with is an ‘order taker,’ not an advisor," says Kiner. "You have to come into your meeting knowing exactly which strategy you want to employ.
CINCINNATI, Ohio (PRWEB) April 01, 2015
Marc Kiner and Jim Blair know why 90 percent of retirees claiming Social Security benefits don’t maximize their income-- strategies to claim are complex-- and often confusing.
The two men are partners at Premier Social Security Consulting of Cincinnati, which helps people understand the Social Security System and how to maximize Social Security income.
Kiner is a career CPA and understands numbers. Blair worked for the Social Security Administration for 35 years and understands the system. The pair announced on April 1 a “three-legged stool” strategy that outlines how married couples can maximize Social Security benefits.
Kiner and Blair talk about the concept in depth in their National Social Security Advisors classes for professional advisors.
“People don’t often understand that taking Social Security benefits early may be a permanent decision,” says Kiner. “They may not understand how work affects Social Security benefits and how to coordinate spousal benefits. Most importantly, people may not know that the Social Security representative you meet with is an ‘order taker,’ not an advisor. You have to come into your meeting knowing exactly which strategy you want to employ.”
A married couple can leave $150,000 or more on the table in Social Security benefits by not accessing the program to their best advantage.
Kiner and Blair outline the three strategies people can implement to maximize Social Security income:
-- Delay taking Social Security— It’s not mandatory to take Social Security at your Full Retirement Age (FRA). Each month you delay builds Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC) benefits at the rate of eight percent per year until the age of 70.
This can mean a monthly benefit of up to 32 percent more than if you take Social Security at your full retirement age, says Blair. “There is no benefit to waiting any longer than age 70 to take Social Security, though. But you do need to look at factors other than a desired dollar amount per month.”
-- Coordinate Spousal Benefits—This means employing the Claim and Suspend and Restricted Applications strategies regarding Social Security.
If one spouse is of full retirement age, he or she can claim Social Security and then immediately suspend it. The other spouse with an expected lower benefit can then take Social Security based on the first spouse’s record. This provides for the receipt of spousal or children's benefits while delaying to age 70 to maximize benefits.
“This is the single most overlooked Social Security strategy,” says Kiner. “These strategies coordinate spousal benefits and supercharge your total benefits. They represent the second leg of the stool.”
For a restricted application, a spouse of full retirement age claims a spousal benefit off the other while letting his or her own account continue to grow until the age of 70.
“It’s an opportunity to “double dip” into the system so to speak,” says Blair, “to take a spouse’s benefit, then access your own higher personal benefit at the age of 70.”
--Maximize Anticipated Surviving Spouse Lifetime Benefits-- When we say “lifetime,” we mean that if the husband dies and the wife steps into the husband’s shoes, she’ll be the Social Security recipient for the rest of her life, says Kiner.
“It makes sense to plan for the highest benefit possible to go to the spouse expected to live longer,” says Kiner. “Social Security can be a joint lifetime benefit. This is generally achieved when the husband delays to 70, thereby maximizing his delayed retirement credits.”
The most important recommendations Kiner and Blair make about maximizing Social Security are to educate yourself about the system and to make a Social Security plan.
“For the average person, the strategies and terminology can be confusing,” says Kiner. “That’s why it’s smart to go to a professional for help when beginning to think of taking Social Security.
At Premier, we tend to think that ages 62, 66 and 70 provide a limited view of your Social Security benefits and call that only thinking inside the box. Advisors must think outside the box by incorporating restricted applications and claim and suspend strategies in their plans.”
Premier also trains and certifies professional advisors—insurance agents, financial advisors, CPAs and enrolled agents-- through the National Social Security Advisors certification program on how to navigate the Social Security system so they can then advise clients on maximizing benefit income. Educational credits are available for CFPs, CPAs and insurance agents taking the Social Security education classes. About 900 professional advisors took the training program since its inception in 2013.
For more information about Premier Social Security Consulting, go to http://www.premiersocialsecurityconsulting.com.