Hidden Assets: Managing Your Social Security

Understanding Social Security and knowing how to make the most of retirement benefits is crucial. People contemplating retirement should plan carefully to maximize their assets.

Retirement specialist, James A. (Al) Hurt, Jr. has been assisting individuals and businesses with wealth management for the past forty years. His article, Hidden Assets: Managing Your Social Security, recently published in the Spring 2014 edition of the CSA Journal, focuses on Social Security and knowing how to make the most of your retirement benefits. Excerpts from his article can be read below.

As financial advisors, we are often asked, “How can I get the most out of my Social Security?” Are we responding with uninformed answers such as, “You have plenty of other assets,” or “I’m not sure I would count on Social Security.” The average two-earner couple receives $583,000 in lifetime Social Security Benefits (Steuerle and Quackenbush 2012). The reality is that Social Security is a huge benefit and when to start drawing benefits is a decision that many people get wrong.

Let’s look at Social Security as the “hidden asset” that everyone seems to give the least amount of attention, and in many cases is the largest asset a retired couple may have. You need to think about Social Security as social insurance that you have paid for, and you have a measure of control as to when your benefits are paid. Therefore, everyone has the responsibility to themselves and their families to make sure this asset is maximized to its fullest potential.

Baby boomers are turning sixty-five. Many are crying like the day they were born, but for a different reason. The company pension plan has been replaced by a 401(k) plan, the burden for retirement income has shifted from the employer to the employee, and there is no income for life with these plans. Private savings have been replaced by private debt. No wonder so many retirees are concerned about outliving their money. The three-legged retirement stool that President Eisenhower spoke of has sprouted a fourth leg over the years. That is, the need to keep working because savings, 401(k) plans, and Social Security benefits are not enough financially to live comfortably.

People are living longer today and should be planning for a retirement that lasts well into their nineties. When you look at taking Social Security early versus delaying it, the lifetime benefit numbers lost can easily be between $100,000 and $250,000 more.

Provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors
Courtesy of James A. (Al) Hurt., Jr., CLU, ChFC, CSA

Reprinted by Always Best Care Senior Services with permission from
Senior Spirit, the newsletter of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors

The Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) program provides the advanced knowledge and practical tools to serve seniors at the highest level possible while providing recipients a powerful credential that increases their competitive advantage over other professionals. The CSA works closely with Always Best Care Senior Services to help ABC business owners understand how to build effective relationships with seniors based on a broad-based knowledge of the health, social and financial issues that are important to seniors, and the dynamics of how these factors work together in seniors’ lives. To be a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) means one willingly accepts and vigilantly upholds the standards in the CSA Code of Professional Responsibility. These standards define the behavior that we owe to seniors, to ourselves, and to our fellow CSAs. The reputation built over the years by the hard work and high standards of CSAs flows to everyone who adds the designation to their name.

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June, 2014

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