If you are approaching retirement and are wondering how to maximize your Social Security benefits, you may have questions about when the best time is to start collecting. Indeed, the age at which you choose to begin collecting benefits is a big factor in determining how much retirement income you will be able to receive each month. In order to help people make smart decisions about their Social Security benefits, financial advisory firm Financial Engines has come up with an easy-to-use online planning tool for analyzing when might be the best time to start your benefits.
The tool’s strategy is to estimate the total amount of income an individual is expected to receive over their lifetime. After asking questions about a user’s specific information, including birth date, gender, marital status, salary, and health status, the system estimates the amount of benefits a person can expect to receive according to when the user plans to begin claiming. The user can then check out other potential strategies, such as waiting to claim until a later date or looking into better ways to claim for a spouse, in order to maximize their lifetime benefits.
There are currently more than 8,000 possible ways for married couples to file for Social Security benefits. With so many options, the Financial Engines tool is a great way to simplify the process because it computes your options for you. The tool can help you determine which strategy, such as file and suspend or restricted application, will result in the most money for you and your spouse. For example, it may be beneficial for you and your spouse to file for benefits at separate times. It may also be a good idea to wait to collect instead of jumping on Social Security immediately after you stop working.
We encourage you to check out the Financial Engines planner to assess your retirement readiness. It can be accessed by clicking here.