So, for some people, especially those who have a spouse with richer Social Security benefits, tapping their own, lesser benefit early can make sense—especially if they’ll invest the proceeds. “When you have couples who will both retire early, sometimes a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, because it can make sense for one to claim early to get an income stream started and invest the monthly payment using a strategic investment strategy,” Mitcheltree said.

Tapping the Social Security benefits of one spouse can also mean that’s less income they need to take from their portfolio, even if they’re not actively investing the benefit, “so It can work out to have similar benefits,” she added.

Keil said he finds that clients retire earlier than they expect and live longer than they estimate. To help them understand the cost of these likelihoods, he runs their Social Security and longevity projections to show them how much waiting until age 70 to claim benefits will provide.

But he also encourages clients to run their own life expectancy numbers on, which can produce eye-opening results, he said.

“What’s important is that it is based on math and science and not feelings. Feelings regarding longevity are almost always wrong,” Keil said. The projections can also help clients from jumping the gun on claiming their Social Security benefits early, when often they do not need to.

Calculating joint life expectancy using the tool is a particular eye-opener for couples. “You can say you’ll live to age 75 and your spouse may live until 80, but typically one partner will live three to five years longer and we help people plan for that,” the veteran advisor said.

“For most clients, we say, ‘Let’s do Social Security bridging until age 70 and based on the planning we’ve done for you for years, here is what your income will be.’ I have never had a widow tell me she needs less income,” Keil added. 


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