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Making the right Social Security decisions

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With all the free information on the internet about when and how to file for Social Security, why ever would you pay for advice? 

The answer is that the advice given is generic advice that might be good for many of the people much of the time but isn’t ever good for all the people all the time to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln.  At least that’s the contention of author Andy Landis, who writes about retirement.  In this Market Watch article, Landis gives some considerations people should take into account before they follow the most frequent advice which is generally to postpone filing for Social Security for as long as possible.

There are other means to maximize your Social Security that Landis doesn’t address.  One way according to US News is to make as much money as you can for at least 35 years since that’s the timeframe Social Security looks at.  You have to work at least 10 years so that’s something else to look at.  That may mean taking on a second job to make that earnings record jump especially if you took time off to raise a family or care for a loved one.  Since it’s money we’re talking about, taxes are a part of the equation.  Not only do you want to maximize your check you want to minimize your tax bill.

The point of all this according to Landis, is that a professional won’t just look at the Social Security picture but will focus on the bigger picture taking into account IRA distributions, estate planning and other factors to help make a decision that is more fleshed out and more likely to provide you with the best answer for you.  A lot of people look at the cost of hiring a professional and stop at the price tag.  I’d submit to you that most of us didn’t think twice about hiring a builder if we needed a house built, our cars are maintained by someone who doesn’t mind crawling under the dash and when we go on vacation we let the pilot handle the mechanics of getting the plane from one airport to another.  Hiring a professional takes much of the guess work out of planning and usually the costs are more than made up for by better planning.  If you need help finding a financial planner that can help you make the best decisions about Social Security, check out our Preferred Partners page.

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