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3 Strategies to Get the Most Out of Social Security

social security, retirementSocial Security serves as a base of retirement income, providing a guaranteed income stream to those who qualify.  Many people simply file at their full retirement age without trying to maximize their benefits.  For those who are married, there are a few strategies that can be taken advantage of to provide the largest guaranteed income stream possible.


File and Suspend

  • Works Best For: Couples with One Primary Earner
  • How It Works:
    • Primary worker files for benefits and suspends once they reach full retirement age
    • Primary worker still earns Delayed Retirement Credits (8% per year between ages 65 and 70)
    • Spouse collects 50% of primary worker’s full retirement amount (As long as he or she is 62)


Claim Some Now; Claim More Later

  • Works Best For: Couples in which Both Spouses Work; Older Spouse is Primary Earner
  • How It Works:
    • The younger spouse files for a spousal benefit early
    • The older, higher earning spouse files for the 50%  of the full spousal benefit  and delays his or her own benefit until age 70, earning Delayed Retirement Credits
  • Important Note
    • This is only effective if spouse who filed only works up until specific income limits. If he or she goes beyond this, their benefits will be subject to an earnings test, which could reduce benefits.


Combination of Strategies

  • Works Best For: Couples Who are Both at or Over Full Retirement Age
  • How It Works:
    • One person files and suspends, while the other files for spouse’s benefits only
    • Allows some benefits to be paid, while both spouses earn Delayed Retirement Credits
    • Both spouses then file for their own, maximized retirement benefits at age 70
  • Important Note
    • If you have been divorced for over two years, both parties can receive spousal benefits while delaying their own social security.
Maeve WilsonKnowing your options can prove valuable when deciding when and how to take your social security benefits.  If you need help in determining what's best for you, contact us to schedule an appointment to review your situation.
Maeve Wilson serves as an Investment Officer at Pinnacle Trust.  You may contact Maeve by emailing her at mwilson@pinntrust.com or by calling our office at 601-957-0323.