On Retirement

Advisers: Let me coach you on Social Security claiming-strategies

Apr 10, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

By Mary Beth Franklin

You're probably sick of hearing me talk about the importance of Social Security claiming strategies as the bedrock of a solid retirement income strategy. But I'm not alone.

Today, Cathy Weatherford, President and CEO of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), said,

“Deciding when to begin collecting Social Security benefits needs to be considered within the framework of a holistic retirement strategy.” And, she added, boomers expect their financial advisers to guide them in this crucial decision. Are you prepared?

Four years ago when I wrote my first article about Secrets of Social Security for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, I felt like a pioneer. Today, after answering hundreds of e-mails, letters and phone calls from consumers and financial advisers, I feel like the reigning champion of a new board game: Trivia Pursuit, Aging Boomer edition, meets the game of Life.

“As the retirement paradigm continues to shift and as workers bear more responsibility for their overall retirement protection, the decision of when to collect benefits assumes an even higher level of importance,” Weatherford said. I couldn't agree more.

In fact, I've discussed this important issue with some of the finest minds in the retirement income community, including a one-on-one conversation with Assistant Secretary of Treasury Mark Iwry. Many at the highest levels of government believe the best hope for millions of baby boomers is to work longer and delay collecting Social Security benefits as a way to lock in their biggest possible, cost-of-living adjusted benefit for life.

I'm here to help you give your clients the guidance they need. Send your questions about Social Security to me at my Retirement 2.0 blog and I'll post my answers. (View Mary Beth's latest mail bag blog here.)

If you want to discuss your questions with me in person, please join me at the InvesmentNews Retirement Income Summit in Chicago on April 30-May 1. Who knows, by then I may have dummied up a board game to test advisers on the arcane rules of Social Security. Extra points if you can explain the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset rules!

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