Financial Focus: How to maximize social security benefits

12:14 PM, Sep 26, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS — For a lot of people who retire they're only relying on social security to cover their expenses.

So how can you best maximize your benefits? Our partner at Carlson Financial explained some key things you need to know.

Carl Carlson, CEO of Carlson Financial, said, "It's kind of sad because that's just not a lot of money in most cases so you can't do a lot on just social security."

Simply relying on social security benefits to get you through your golden years isn't something Carlson recommends, but if you are going to go this route he said, "There's many different ways to look at maximizing your social security benefits and it's actually a very individualized process."

He said you need to look at things like how much your income in retirement will be, if you have a pension, how much money you have in savings, and of course - when you should start drawing social security.

"It's a little bit of a guessing game."

That is - your current health and life expectancy.

"If you draw early one of the things you're going to get hit with is if you do live a long time and now you have this small social security at 62 it wasn't too bad, but at 92 it's hardly anything because of inflation."

Let's say you live past age 78. Carlson said, "That means you should have waited till your full retirement age to start social security which for a lot of people might be 66 and so many months or 67."

Something else to consider - if you're married discuss with your spouse when you should start collecting social security.

"One could start early, maybe the one with the bigger social security might start later."

Carlson said a lot of people retiring start to draw social security when they're 62 and they get a permanently lower benefit than they would've had at their full retirement age. He said making better filing decisions could mean you get $100,000 more over your lifetime if you're a single person and $250,000 more if you're married.

Carlson Financial is a sponsor of Financial Focus.

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