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The Social Security "Talk"

Talking to clients earlier may help them plan ahead for claiming their benefits.

Financial professionals – when do you start to talk to your clients about Social Security? Age 50? 60? Older? Do you wait until your client asks you? Perhaps starting the conversation earlier can help your clients understand the value of other sources of guaranteed lifetime income.

As clients get closer to retirement, the question will eventually come up: When should I claim my Social Security benefits?

"When to claim Social Security benefits is more complex than simply looking at a life expectancy chart."

The Social Security Administration answers this question with "it's a personal decision and depends on several factors, such as your current cash needs, your current health, and family longevity."1

But this decision is more complex than simply looking at a life expectancy chart. The decision for when to claim Social Security will depend on your client’s retirement goals, employment situation and other available sources of retirement income. It may also depend on some unknown variables – which can especially impact those thinking they might like to claim their Social Security benefits early, at age 62.

Early claiming and poverty

Data from a recent study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that people who claim their Social Security benefits early stand a greater chance of living in poverty later in retirement. This may be due to a few variables we have no control over.2

First – longevity. We are living longer than expected. According to the National Institute on Aging and the U.S. Census Bureau, by the year 2050 there will be 9 million Americans over the age of 90 – compared to 2 million today.3 Claiming benefits early at the reduced rate could expose some people to an income shortfall later in life as inflation and healthcare costs increase.

Second – health. With longevity comes a higher probability of health issues. Health issues later in life may force retirees to tap into retirement resources that are earmarked for essential expenses. Especially health-related issues that require long-term care services, which may not be covered by health insurance or Medicare.

Building an income plan – earlier

Starting the conversation about Social Security with your clients early may create the opportunity to address those known and unknown variables. Many of which can help determine when they might be able to retire and start tapping into their Social Security benefits.

As their financial professional, you can help your clients build an income plan earlier, based on their retirement goals. That plan may include an additional source of guaranteed lifetime income – something more and more clients are interested in. After all – another source of guaranteed lifetime income can either supplement what Social Security offers your clients, or it can bridge the gap until their full Social Security benefits kick in at age 67.

Income calculator

Showing a client what lifetime income looks like is always better than just telling them. Try this retirement income calculator to help illustrate for your clients the value of guaranteed lifetime income. Take a look.

 

For more information on Social Security benefits go to SSA.gov.

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