National Social Security Advisor: Top Five Questions Boomers Ask about “Situational Social Security”

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National Social Security Advisor (NSSA) educators Marc Kiner and Jim Blair provide answers to the top five questions baby boomers ask about Social Security. The men teach the NSSA Social Security certificate program through Premier Social Security Consulting of Cincinnati.

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Professional advisors participate in an NSSA Advisor Social Security certificate program.

Relying on friends or family members for advice on Social Security is a big mistake. Everyone has a unique earnings history, health history, and economic situation. It’s more important than ever that retirees and those close to retirement weigh their options and coordinate spousal benefits.

Maximizing Social Security income is the mission for Marc Kiner and Jim Blair of Premier Social Security Consulting in Cincinnati.

The unique situation of each family or individual, in fact, led Kiner to coin the phrase, “situational Social Security" and inspired the men to compile answers to the top five questions baby boomers ask about Social Security.

"Everyone’s situation is different," said Kiner, "and married couples, singles, surviving spouses, children, divorced individuals and married couples with large age discrepancies should apply strategies compatible with their situations."

A married couple can leave as much as $150,000 on the table in Social Security benefits over a 30-year retirement by taking Social Security too early or neglecting to coordinate spousal benefits.

“Relying on friends or family members for advice on Social Security is a big mistake,” said Kiner. “Everyone has a unique earnings history, health history, and economic situation. It’s more important than ever that retirees and those close to retirement weigh their options and coordinate spousal benefits.”

Kiner and business partner Jim Blair, a career employee with the Social Security Administration, developed and teach the National Social Security Advisor (NSSA) certificate program to professional advisors. It’s the only accredited Social Security education program in the U.S., with more than 1,500 advisors earning the NSSA certificate since the program began in 2013.

After graduating from the NSSA program, advisors are competent to counsel clients on the best way to maximize Social Security benefits and answer numerous client questions.

“Retirees and those close to retirement need to weigh their options and coordinate spousal benefits,” said Blair. The federal government recently released budget figures that state the Social Security Trust Funds will operate in the red this year, four years earlier than anticipated. The fund is on track to be depleted in 2034, resulting in a 25 percent reduction in benefits paid to retirees unless Congress takes action.”

About 76 million Americans today are classified as baby boomers. Ten thousand boomers turn 65 years old every day in the U.S.

Kiner and Blair have compiled the top five questions baby boomers close to retirement ask about situational Social Security:

  • When should I claim Social Security? – People can take Social Security at age 62, but claiming early lowers your monthly payment permanently, said Blair. “Full Retirement Age (FRA) is age 66 or 67 right now, depending on your birthday. If you can work longer and wait until FRA or longer, you will receive a higher benefit.”
  • How are benefits calculated? – Social Security is calculated based on 35 years of indexed earnings, said Kiner. “A lot of people don’t know that. They may think it’s five or 10 years, but it’s 35. Earnings are inflation-adjusted from prior years to bring them up to today’s dollars.”
  • How does the earnings test affect my benefit? – “An earnings test is only based on your earned income until the month you reach FRA,” said Blair. “So if you take Social Security prior to FRA, your monthly benefit will be reduced if your earned income exceeds specified limits. The month you reach FRA, the earnings test goes away and you will earn your full benefit regardless of your earnings.”
  • Can I collect benefits from my spouse’s work record and is Restricted Application (coordinating spousal benefits) still available? – If you were born by Jan 1, 1954, you may file for benefits off your spouse’s work record by filing a Restricted Application. Then you can watch your own benefit grow eight percent per year until the age of 70, said Blair. “If you’re a younger baby boomer, you still need to coordinate spousal benefits. A professional advisor can help you determine the best formula from a myriad of options.”
  • Is my financial advisor knowledgeable about Social Security? – Not necessarily, said Kiner. “Those who engage in Social Security educational training increase their competence, clients and revenues. Select a financial advisor who is knowledgeable about Social Security, or you won’t get the best answers for your situation.”

"One of the biggest mistakes people make is walking into a Social Security office and asking a Social Security employee what your options are," added Kiner. “Employees are not there to counsel you. You’re not going to get a good answer.”

The National Social Security Advisor (NSSA®) certificate program is the only Social Security education program for professional advisors accredited by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) in Washington, D.C. Professional advisors include financial advisors, insurance agents, certified public accountants, and enrolled agents.

Kiner, a 38-year certified public accountant, sold his CPA firm in 2012 to focus on Social Security education. Kiner and Blair formed their business in January, 2010, to help baby boomers understand and maximize their Social Security benefits.

NSSA program instruction takes a full day. Advisors who take the NSSA training course and pass an assessment are awarded an NSSA certificate.

The NSSA program is offered in 18 cities this year. Monthly NSSA webinars are also offered to provide additional Social Security education. Topics include: Social Security-related topics and articles; case studies; Social Security options software; marketing strategies; and advisor questions.

Advisors who take the NSSA course can contact Kiner and Blair any time with questions. Support also includes webinars, PowerPoint presentations and much more, said Blair.

For more information about the National Social Security Advisor certificate program, visit http://www.premiernssa.com, email Kiner at mkiner@mypremierplan.com, or call him at (513) 247-0526.

Contact: Marc Kiner
Email: mkiner@mypremierplan.com
Phone: (513) 247-0526

About the National Social Security Advisor program:

Marc Kiner and Jim Blair are partners at Premier Social Security Consulting of Cincinnati, which teaches the National Social Security Advisor (NSSA) certificate program. The men educate professional advisors on the Social Security system so advisors can counsel clients on how to maximize Social Security income.

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