Client Examples

See How We Help People Just Like You

Married Single Divorced Widow Government Employee

Sue, age 64, Single

Full Retirement Benefit: $1,512

Sue is single and has not been married before. She plans to retire from work at age 65 and is planning to begin her Social Security benefits then. Here is what our software showed her:

If Sue claims at age 65, her Full Retirement Benefit of $1,512 will be reduced to $1,390 monthly because she is claiming before her full retirement age of 66. Her lifetime cumulative benefit will be $333,600.

But if Sue waits until age 70 to begin her benefits, her Full Retirement Benefit will receive delayed retirement credits, and her monthly payment will be $1,996. That's an additional $606 per month for the rest of Sue's life! And her lifetime cumulative benefit will be $377,472.

We found Sue $43,872 more!

Marilyn, Age 60, Widowed

Full Retirement Benefit: $1,399

Deceased Spouse's Full Retirement Benefit: $1,801

Marilyn is widowed and is eligible for survivor benefits based on her deceased spouse's earnings record. She's not currently working and is receiving income from her former husband's pension. However, she will qualify for her own retirement benefit as well. She wanted to know how to maximize her survivor benefits in conjunction with her own retirement benefits. Here is what our software showed her:

Marilyn is eligible to begin her survivor benefits as early as age 60 and will receive $1,287 monthly if she claims at that time. Marilyn can receive her survivor benefit while letting her own retirement benefit accrue delayed retirement credits until she reaches age 70. At that time, her monthly retirement benefit will be $1,848 for the rest of her life. Her cumulative lifetime benefits will be $487,080.

Had Marilyn claimed her survivor benefit of $1,287 at 60, but switched to her own benefit of $1,399 at 66, she would not have the benefit of the delayed retirement credits. Her lifetime cumulative benefits in this case would have been $411,864.

We found Marilyn $75,216!

Tom and Melinda, ages 62 and 60

Tom's Full Retirement Benefit: $2,424

Melinda's Full Retirement Benefit: $1,254

Tom and Melinda both plan to retire when Tom is 65. They are planning to begin their Social Security retirement benefits at that time. Tom's monthly benefit at age 65 would have been $2,262, and Melinda's would have been $1,003. This would have resulted in a lifetime cumulative payout of $958,500. But here's what our software showed them:

If Tom and Melinda continued with their plan, their benefits would have been reduced because they were filing early. In addition, Melinda would have been eligible for both a spousal benefit and her own retirement benefit. But because Melinda was going to file before her Full Retirement Age, she would have been subject to a rule that would automatically pay her the higher of the two benefits - in this case, that would have been her own benefit. Tom and Melinda would not be able to take advantage of spousal switching strategies that can earn thousands more for a married couple.

Tom should file for benefits when he reaches his Full Retirement Age, but immediately suspend payments. This will make Melinda eligible for spousal benefits, which she should begin at her Full Retirement Age. She will receive a spousal benefit of $1,212 monthly until age 70, when she should switch to her own retirement benefit that has accrued delayed retirement credits. Her benefit at age 70 will be $1,655.

Tom should begin his own retirement benefit at age 70, and it, too, will have accrued delayed retirement credits. His monthly payment at age 70 will be $3,199. Together, their lifetime cumulative benefit will be $1,142,364. And the survivor benefit is $937 greater per month with this claiming strategy.

We found Tom and Melinda $183,864!

Larry and Pat, ages 65 and 62, one has begun benefits

Larry's Full Retirement Benefit: $1,875

Pat's Full Retirement Benefit: $1,367

Larry began his retirement benefits at age 62. Pat has not yet begun benefits and wanted to know when to begin benefits to maximize their lifetime payout. Here's what our software showed them:

Since Larry filed at age 62, his benefits were reduced to $1,406. He will continue to receive that amount for the remainder of his life.

Pat should file a "restricted application" for spousal benefits only when she is aged 66. Pat is eligible for both a spousal benefit and a retirement benefit based on her own earnings record, and she will have reached age 66, so she will be able to choose between the two benefits. Pat's spousal benefit, at her Full Retirement Age of 66, will be half of Larry's Full Retirement Benefit, or $938 per month. Because her own benefit will accrue delayed retirement credits the longer she waits to claim, she should claim only her spousal benefit between ages 66 and 70. At age 70, she will switch to her own retirement benefit of $1,804 per month. Their lifetime cumulative maximum will be $849,168.

If Pat were to follow in Larry's path and claim her benefit at age 62, she would receive only $1,093 for the remainder of her life. Because she would be filing prior to her Full Retirement Age, she would automatically receive the higher benefit - either her own retirement benefit or her spousal benefit. In this case, her own benefit would be higher than her spousal benefit, and that's the amount she would receive for the remainder of her life. Their lifetime cumulative maximum would be only $725,316. In addition, the survivor benefit for Pat or Larry will be $711 less each month.

We found Larry and Pat $123,852!

Shirley, age 64, divorced

Shirley's Full Retirement Benefit: $1,785

Shirley's Ex-Spouse Full Retirement Benefit: $2,376

Shirley and her ex-husband were married 17 years before divorcing almost 15 years ago. Shirley is preparing for her retirement and didn't realize she was eligible to claim a divorced spouse benefit based on her ex-husband's earnings record. Here is what our software showed her:

Shirley should file for her divorced spouse benefit when she reaches her full retirement age of 66. Her monthly benefit will be 50% of her ex-husband's Full Retirement Benefit, or $1,188. When she reaches age 70, she should switch to her own retirement benefit which has accrued delayed retirement credits and will be $2,356. Her cumulative lifetime benefit will be $481,104.

If Shirley does not take advantage of her divorced spouse benefit and just claims her own retirement benefit at age 70 when she's earned the most in delayed retirement credits, her monthly benefit will still be $2,356. But she would miss out on $1,188 of divorced spouse benefits. That's $14,256 every year between her ages 66 and 70. Her lifetime cumulative benefits would be only $424,080.

We found Shirley $57,024!

Tom, age 60, single

Tom's Full Retirement Benefit: $1,678

Tom is currently single and is looking forward to retirement. Although he was once married, his marriage lasted fewer than 10 years, so he is not eligible for a divorced spouse benefit. He is anxious to retire from work at 62 and plans to begin his Social Security benefits at that time. He knows his benefit will be reduced, but he believes that collecting less for a longer time period makes sense. Here's what our software showed him:

If Tom follows his plan to begin collecting benefits at age 62, he will receive $1,265 monthly for the remainder of his life. His lifetime cumulative benefit will be $302,335.

But if Tom follows our recommended solution and waits until he is age 70 to claim his benefits, he will receive $2,047 monthly because his Full Retirement Benefit will have accrued the maximum in delayed retirement credits. His lifetime cumulative total will be $325,473.

We found Tom $23,138!

Edward and Sarah, 66 and 67

Edward's Full Retirement Benefit: $1,925

Sarah's Full Retirement Benefit: $457

Edward and Sarah are looking forward to retiring together. They've been married for over 30 years and their children are finally grown. While Sarah has occasionally worked part-time over the years, her benefit amount is quite small. She knows that at her full retirement age, she will be able to collect half of Edward's full retirement benefit. She isn't planning to claim her small benefit. They are each planning to begin benefits at age 66. But here's what our software showed them:

If Sarah and Edward continue with their own plan, they will miss out on over $110,000 in benefits! Our recommended solution found a way for Sarah to take advantage of her own small benefit for a few years before adding her spousal benefit when Edward files for his own benefit when he is 70. In addition, this strategy means $616 more each month in survivor benefits for Sarah after Edward passes away.

We found Edward and Sarah $110,264 more!

Jim and Janet, ages 62 and 60

Jim's full retirement benefit: $1,489

Janet's full retirement benefit: $1,087

Jim and Janet didn't know much about Social Security. They planned to do what over 70% of Americans do: file early. In fact, each of them wanted to file as early as possible. Doing so would have paid Jim $1,122 each month, and Janet would have received $819. While not a lot, they were content...until they used our software.

Jim and Janet did not understand the complicated switching strategies that they can use to maximize their retirement benefits from Social Security. They were overwhelmed by all of the rules and just thought claiming early was their best choice. After all, the longer you collect - even with a smaller amount - the more you'll receive, right? No!

Our recommended solution showed them how to take advantage of all the rules of Social Security without getting overly complicated. They learned about "file and suspend" tactics and found that they could earn $1,458 more every month during their joint lifetimes. Their lifetime cumulative benefit total with our recommended solution will be $708,015.

We found Jim and Janet $134,543 more!

Joe and Caren, both 62

Joe and Caren's situation is a little more complex than some. Joe has spent most of his career in a school district that will provide a nice pension when he retires. The school district he works in does not participate in Social Security, but Joe has worked at other jobs, too: summer sports camps, tutoring, a clerk in high school and college, and a few years in one school district in another state that did pay Social Security taxes on his earnings. Joe doesn't really consider those jobs as "substantial," and he's not planning on getting any Social Security benefits. Caren's full retirement benefit is only $1,189.

In working with Social Security Solutions, Joe and Caren learned that Joe did indeed qualify for a Social Security benefit. While it will be reduced because of a rule known as the Windfall Elimination Provision, it will provide a small payment each month for Joe and Caren's retirement. In addition, they learned about other rules of Social Security that will increase Caren's benefit if Joe passes away first.

We found $40,320 for Joe and Caren!