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“How are Social Security Benefits calculated?”

The first hand shot up at our Social Security dinner on Tuesday night, and the man asked, “How exactly are my benefits calculated?” Just like that, the ice was broken and everyone was actively listening.  Quickly, more great questions arose:  “What happens if I retire at age 60, but do not start collecting until full retirement age (FRA)?” “Can I start collecting benefits and change my mind?” “What will happen to my benefits if I collect, but continue to work beyond the full retirement age?” “My spouse passed a few years ago… Am I able to collect any of his benefits?” “Am I entitled to my ex-spouse’s benefits if we were married for less than 10 years?”

Questions were answered.

Cullen Roberts, an Investment Consultant from BlackRock, was our guest speaker. Well-versed in Social Security benefits, he was able to field everyone’s personal questions without hesitation. When confusion lingered, he came up with hypothetical situations to help everyone learn. Confidence spread across the room. It was a very empowering 45 minutes.

Cullen discussed qualifying for benefits, determining your FRA, working while collecting, collecting now versus later, and your family collection decision. The “family collection decision,” as he described it, “is the strategy you’ll use to make the most of spousal benefits, survivor benefits, and then choosing between those benefits, if necessary.” He also discussed the taxation of benefits.

“If… But… Or… When… It Depends on…”

The Social Security rules are complex, and there are a few exceptions to be aware of. As financial advisors, we see firsthand the stress this can cause clients. It is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your 60’s. Some people may think collecting as soon as possible is the way to go, but does that put you at risk of outliving your checks? Would it be beneficial to wait a few years to begin collecting? Can you afford to wait?

TVAMP is here to help.

Making a hasty Social Security collection decision could be harmful to your financial future. Cullen said, “Deciding when to begin taking benefits is an important and multifaceted consideration. Gathering all your information, knowing all your options, and discussing this with your TVAMP advisor can help you feel more confident in your decision.” Your Social Security strategy should complement your overall retirement plan.

Thank you to all who came!

We thank all of those who attended! If you would like to meet with a TVAMP advisor, call us at (865) 226.9982 or shoot us an email to [email protected]

We also have a slideshow available from our Social Security webinar we hosted in January (same information from last night).