Social Security Calculators Can Help You Decide When To Apply

DEar Savvy Senior: Can you recommend any good resources that can help my wife and I determine the best ages to claim Social Security so that we can maximize our retirement benefits? – Just turned 62

Expensive 62: Deciding when to start collecting Social Security benefits is one of the most complicated and important decisions in retirement. The difference between a good and a bad decision could cost you and your wife tens of thousands of dollars in retirement. So it makes sense to do your due diligence now.

Factors to consider

As you may already know, you can claim Social Security anytime between 62 and 70, but every year you wait increases your benefits between 5% and 8%. However, there are other factors you need to consider to help you and your wife make good decisions, such as your health and the longevity of your family, if you plan to work in retirement, and spousal and survivor benefits. .

To help you evaluate your strategies, you should know that Social Security Administration claims specialists are not trained or authorized to give personal advice on when someone should start collecting your benefits. They can only provide information about how the system works under different circumstances. For advice, you will need to look to other sources.

Online tools

Your first step in getting strategic advice on when to apply for Social Security is to go to to get your personalized statement that estimates your retirement benefit amount between 62 and 70. These estimates are based on your annual income which is also shown on your report.

Once you have obtained estimates for you and your wife, there are a number of online social security strategy calculators that you can turn to that can compare your options so that you can make an informed decision.

The best that is free to use is Open Social Security (, which runs the calculations for every possible claim age (or, if you’re married, every possible combination of claim ages) and reports, telling you which strategy should provide the most dollars spent in your lifetime.

But if you want a more in-depth analysis, consider paid calculators like Maximize My Social Security ( or Social Security Solutions ( These tools, which are especially useful for married couples and people who are divorced and widowed, will run what-if scenarios based on your situation and show how different deposit strategies affect total payment over the same time period.

Maximize My Social Security’s web service costs $ 40 per year for a household, while Social Security Solutions offers multiple levels of personalized and web-based phone advice ranging from $ 20 to $ 250.

In-person counseling

You can also get help through a financial planner. Look for someone who is a paid-only certified financial planner who bills on an hourly basis and has experience in Social Security analysis.

To find someone, use the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors’ online directory at or try the Garrett Planning Network (GarrettPlanning, a network of paid advisors who charge between $ 150 and $ 300. time.

Jim Miller is a contributor to NBC-TV’s “Today” and the author of “The Savvy Senior”. Send your questions to Savvy Senior, PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070; or visit

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