- Even before retirement, there are Social Security tools your clients can use.
- Understanding how Social Security works today may help clients make better decisions tomorrow.
- Many Social Security features are available online, without a trip to the local branch office.
Social Security isn’t something a lot of clients think about during their working years. But as you help them develop a retirement strategy, it’s something to talk about and understand early, rather than seeing them make regrettable decisions later in life.
Even before retirement, clients can use Social Security as a tool, whether that’s understanding how delaying a claim can boost benefits or simply taking advantage of an online request for a replacement ID card.
1. Find out how they’re doing
As you help clients prepare for retirement and estimate how Social Security fits into their strategy, they don’t have to guess. You can show them how to get a decent estimate of their retirement benefit by going to the agency’s retirement estimator page. With some information about themselves, they can get an idea of what to expect at 62, at full retirement age, and at age 70 when they max out delayed retirement credits. For a more detailed estimate – based on their actual, reported lifetime earnings – they can sign up for a my Social Security. They can even verify if the information Social Security already has on them is accurate.
2. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow
Some clients may be thinking about claiming retirement benefits as early as age 62, but do they understand that will result in a smaller monthly check than if they wait until full retirement age (FRA)? Someone with an FRA at 67 who takes benefits at 62 would receive a benefit that is 30% less than it would be at 67. If they can wait to claim, they get a “raise” in the form of a higher monthly benefits, up to an 8% increase for each year they wait, up to age 70.
3. Get secure
When dealing with Social Security through a my Social Security account, clients have the option of adding a second method of identification, something that goes beyond a password that could be compromised. Any time they log in using a password, a confirmation code can be sent by text or email. It’s an extra step to protect personal information. And if they suspect fraud, they can block electronic access to their information.
4. Get a replacement card
For many Americans, losing a Social Security card doesn’t have to be a hassle. Residents living in 24 states (and the list has been growing) can log in to their my Social Security account and request a replacement.
5. Consider life expectancy
If you’re trying to impress upon clients how long their retirement income will need to last, Social Security’s life expectancy calculators could help. Social Security reports a man age 65 today can expect to live past 84. For a woman, it’s even higher: 86. The agency’s calculator is fairly simple, but it can be a good reminder.
And as a bonus for financial professionals who want to stay current on any changes, Social Security Matters is a blog from the agency that provides regular updates and reminders on topics from security to regulatory and benefit changes. You can have it delivered via email by signing up online.
Things to Consider:
- Social Security’s website, SSA.gov, is easy to navigate and filled with interesting, informative articles for workers of all ages.
- Clients who sign up for a my Social Security account at gov/myaccount can see the earnings data Social Security has collected on them, and they can calculate their anticipated retirement benefit.
- Help clients understand the ins and outs of Social Security by sharing our Field Guide.
Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide tax, investment or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors and financial professional regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.
Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as insurance, securities, ERISA, tax, legal or financial advice or guidance. Please consult your personal independent advisors for answers to your specific questions.