Married couples have several options available when deciding when and how they want to claim Social Security payments. However, a little bit of planning right now can go a long way to help you and your spouse make the most of your Social Security benefits in the future.
There are basic Social Security rules that apply to every person, but couples have more options since the individuals can claim different dates. Plus, they might be eligible for spouse benefits.
Here are a few planning tips to consider when you are preparing for future Social Security payments in your marriage:
Tip #1: Look at Benefit Estimates
Start by evaluating your current Social Security estimates. You can look at the Social Security Administration (SSA) website. Or, better yet, talk to a financial advisor for personalized recommendations. Pay attention to the difference in estimates between you and your spouse.
Tip #2: Choose Who Will Collect First
In our opinion, One good strategy is to have the lower earner collect Social Security benefits first, with the higher earner pushing their collection date a little later. Over time, the increases will be better for the higher earner, so it makes sense to wait before starting to collect this Social Security.
Tip #3: Collecting on the Same Earnings Records
Another thing to consider is if one partner’s earnings are more than double the others. In this situation, consider having the two of you collect on the same partner’s earnings records to maximize available funds. For example, the spouse with the lower benefits starts claiming first using their own earnings record. Then, this lower-earning spouse applies for spousal benefits at the time the higher-earning spouse starts to collect Social Security payments.
Tip #4: Wait to Collect Your Benefits
Did you know that delaying your collection of Social Security can result in higher benefits for both spouses? Before you start receiving checks, talk to a financial advisor to see how much more money will be available if you delay collecting these benefits for a few years. If you decide to delay, you can revisit this decision at any time if your life circumstances change.
Consult with a Financial Planning Expert
Not only do you need to consider a Social Security strategy, but it is also wise to see how these benefits fit in with the rest of your retirement savings. Our team at Bulman Wealth Group provides a comprehensive approach to financial planning, providing each client with a personalized strategy based on their unique situation. Contact us today to learn more about the ways that we can help.