Social Security Benefits: Some Thoughts on Optimal Planning - Forbes

Maximizing benefits from Social Security requires quite a bit of careful planning, coupled with a pretty solid understanding of how the system actually works. Regularly checking websites like this one, and investigation news reports cited here, is a good step in this direction, and posing questions to accredited sources (like the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory Service) is another. And to help you in this search for knowledge, today we’re showcasing a post by Emily Guy Birken and John Schmidt discussing a series of key strategies that can help you get the most out of the benefits you’ve earned through those long years of workforce participation.

Birken and Schmidt lay out a six-part analysis of strategic steps, beginning with the one most frequently cited by financial advisors: delay your filing as long as you can (but not beyond age 70). They follow that with ensuring that you’ve registered 35 years of work history on which you’ve paid Social Security (FICA) tax, something that suggests you need to know how the benefit calculation actually happens (see this “Latest News” post for a quick review). From there, they move into the effects of spousal and survivor benefits, discussing ways to ensure the highest benefit. Understanding the issue of how your benefits could be subject to federal income tax is next in line, with suggestions on mitigation strategies (like Roth IRAs and strategically timing deferred compensation withdrawals). Finally, they take a look at corrective measures, like the first-year “do over” option and the post-FRA suspension of benefits option and how it could work for you.

Read the Birken-Schmidt article here and, if you still have questions as you plan for your Social Security future, don’t hesitate to contact the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory Service at 888-750-2622 (or via email at

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