January 26, 2023

When to Take Social Security Benefits

As you approach retirement, one of the critical decisions you’ll face is determining the best time to start taking Social Security benefits. Certified Financial Planner Wayne Masklyk from Great Lakes Benefits and Wealth Management offers valuable advice for those nearing retirement or already planning for it.

Why Timing Matters

The timing of when you claim Social Security can significantly impact your financial stability in retirement. Wayne notes, “There are hundreds of ways to claim your Social Security benefits, and the best time to do so can depend on numerous factors including marital status, past earnings, and your health.”

Early Planning

Even if retirement seems far off, Wayne recommends that individuals start planning early. “No matter what your age, go to the SSA.gov website, sign up, and track your Social Security earnings record to ensure all your income is correctly reported,” he advises. This early oversight can prevent discrepancies that might affect your future benefits.

Scenarios to Consider

Wayne emphasizes the importance of understanding various scenarios before deciding when to claim benefits. For instance:

  • Claiming Early: Starting your benefits at 62, the earliest eligible age, might seem appealing, but it results in permanently reduced monthly payments. “Each year you delay beyond 62, up to age 70, increases your monthly benefit,” Wayne explains.
  • Optimal Timing: Using specialized Social Security software, Wayne and his team can calculate the most beneficial time for you to start receiving benefits based on your specific circumstances. This software considers different scenarios and projects outcomes to help you see the potential long-term impacts of your choices.

Case Examples

  1. Higher Lifetime Benefits by Delaying: “If someone delays their benefits from age 62 to 70, they could see their monthly check double. This can add up to hundreds of thousands more in total benefits over a longer lifespan,” Wayne points out.
  2. Break-Even Analysis: It’s crucial to consider your health and life expectancy. If you live beyond the average life expectancy, delaying benefits usually offers a higher lifetime payout.

Personalized Advice

Wayne stresses the value of personalized advice, which considers not just the financial aspects, but also personal factors like health, family history, and future plans. “It’s not just about the numbers. It’s about what fits your life and your needs,” he says.

Get Professional Guidance

Consulting with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) like Wayne Masklyk is critical when planning for Social Security and retirement. CFPs are trained to take a holistic approach to your financial planning, considering all aspects of your financial life. Here’s why their expertise is invaluable:

  • Comprehensive Assessment: CFPs evaluate not only your potential Social Security benefits but also other elements of your financial situation, such as other retirement accounts, investments, and future income needs.
  • Tailored Strategies: Every individual’s financial and personal circumstances are unique. A CFP can provide personalized strategies that align with your specific goals, health status, and family considerations.
  • Future Planning: They can help forecast your financial future using advanced tools and software, giving you a clearer picture of what to expect depending on when you choose to start your benefits.
  • Informed Decision-Making: By understanding the complex rules surrounding Social Security and how they apply to your situation, a CFP helps ensure that you make informed decisions that maximize your benefits and overall retirement readiness.

For those ready to explore their Social Security options in depth, Wayne is available for consultations. Getting professional advice is not just about making smart choices today—it’s about securing your financial future.

Sandusky Office

1325 Hull Road,

Sandusky, OH 44870

(419) 626-3900

Elyria Office

347 Midway Blvd #109,

Elyria, OH 44035

(440) 934-3141

Medeira Beach Office

150 153rd Ave, Unit 302

Madeira Beach, FL 33708

(727) 455-9388

Great Lakes Benefits Inc. is a Financial Advisory firm. Investment Advisory Services are offered by Great Lakes Benefits & Wealth Management, an OH Registered Investment Advisor.

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