Broker Check

Social Security Maximization

Determining the appropriate the dates and methods for when both members of a married should start to draw Social Security raises several issues that must be considered. Many factors are involved and no single answer is right in every case.

Issues to consider before choosing to draw Social Security—for yourself or your spouse:

  • Full Retirement Age (FRA) varies from 65 to 67, depending on birth year. View actual ages by
    birth year .
  • Anybody is eligible to draw a reduced social security amount at age 62. Widows or widowers can
    draw as early as age 60.
  • If drawing early, benefits are reduced $1 for every $2 earned as wages or self-employment income in excess of a certain amount that changes every year. This formula creates a penalty from the early drawing age until the year of FRA. In the year your reach your FRA, benefits are reduced $1 for every $3 earned as wages in excess of an amount that changes every year. These amounts are indexed for inflation and increase every year.
  • In general, for every year you defer drawing benefits between age 62 – 70, there is an 8% increase in the annual benefits.

There is no one correct answer that applies to everybody because many factors must be considered. Those single and not previously married, only need to decide when to start to draw. For every year an individual waits between ages 62 and 70, the benefits go up by 8%. The key variable then is the estimate of how long a person will live and draw benefits. For married individuals or those single now but previously married, the ability to take a spousal benefit from the higher earnings benefit base creates other issues to consider.

GCD Advisors can help married clients determine the most advantageous scenarios. To do so, we will need the following information:

  1. Birthdates of both you and your spouse, our Financial Life Planner  or your tax return.
  2. Copy of a recent social security statement for both you and your spouse. This can be obtained at
  3. Amount of earned income (i.e. wage) projected by both you and your spouse, after turning age 62. Provide the amounts projected and month/year in which you think the income will stop, if before age 67.
  4. If either you or your spouse is already drawing social security, provide the month and year in which that person started drawing and the monthly gross amount today.
  5. If either you or your spouse is eligible for a pension from an employer that prevented you from adding more money into the social Security System (i.e. some teachers, firemen, police, governmental, etc.), provide the approximate expected gross monthly pension and the month and year in which this person expects to draw this pension. In addition, we need to know what the projected annual increase percentage (COLA) will be. If this person already started collecting this pension, provide the monthly amount they are collecting.
  6. Identify the amount of annual income you think you might NEED, regardless of maximizing the amount, and in what year you would expect to need this money. These answers may supersede the ability to wait for the maximum amount of benefit. The Financial Life Planner prepared by GCD would have determined how much cash flow you will need in retirement and by what year it should start.
  7. Deciding on the best Social Security strategy for maximum benefits depends on a projection of a person’s anticipated life span. Those anticipating a long life would want to draw later and those not expecting to live particularly long would want to draw earlier. Consequently, for calculation purposes, we ask that you estimate how long you think you and your spouse will live.

To make this easier for you to submit to us, click here to complete our form to provide us with this information and submit to us online.

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