Do You Know Your Social Security Options?



For some, making the decision to claim retirement benefits early may be right choice.  But by claiming benefits early, millions of people could be losing out on tens-of-thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us we’re living longer.  But while “65” is synonymous with retirement, in terms of claiming Social Security benefits, age 65 has little meaning for almost three-quarters of us.  The reason:  Almost 75% choose to receive Social Security retirement benenfits BEFORE their full retirement age.

Can you afford to wait? Or, is the appeal of claiming retirement benefits early just too strong?  Knowing how Social Security works, and what you could be sacrificing, is information that can boost your retirement security for decades to come.

Today, many people are worried about outliving their money – and, well they should:  We’re living longer!

In 1935, life expectancy in the U.S. was 61.7 years .  By 2010 it had increased to 78.7 years*.

Consider a married couple age 65. There’s a 50% chance that one spouse will live to age 92. And a one-in four chance that one spouse will live to age 97**.  As of December 2010***, 5.8 million Social Security beneficiaries were at least age 85. Some were much older.

* National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Reports

** Annuity 20000 Mortality Table, Society of Actuaries

*** Social Security Administration Facts and Figures About Social Security, 2011

Unfortunately, many people tend to engage in short-term thinking; they believe – usually without investigation – that claiming benefits early is the best course.  That may have been true for our parents; but it could be the wrong choice for you.  Indeed, a mistake can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars!

If you feel that you are likely to live to age 80, or, 85, you should think carefully about delaying benefits until even after your full retirement age.  This is because for every year that you wait beyond full retirement age, your monthly check will be increased by an additional 8%.

Waiting until age 70 means receiving 32% more retirement income versus age 66,and 75% more income compared to age 62. That’s $1,800 per month at age 62, versus $3,168 at age 70.

There are a number of claiming strategies; but, no one strategy is right for everyone!

I’ve created a little “mini” website containing videos and other info you might find helpful.  You can locate it here!






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Jim Lorenzen is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional and An Accredited Investment Fiduciary® in his 21st year of private practice as Founding Principal of The Independent Financial Group, a fee-only registered investment advisor with clients located across the U.S.. He is also licensed for insurance as an independent agent under California license 0C00742. IFG helps specializes in crafting wealth design strategies around life goals by using a proven planning process coupled with a cost-conscious objective and non-conflicted risk management philosophy.


The Independent Financial Group does not provide legal or tax advice and nothing contained herein should be construed as securities or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment to the individual reader. The general information provided should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from an appropriate licensed professional.