For many retirees, getting good social security advice can be difficult. When people call the social security administration office, the representatives are prohibited from giving people advice, rather just answers and provide data, says Tracy Ann Miller, with Red River Advisors in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
As an advisor, Miller finds that most people want to take their benefits as soon as they can, because it's instant gratification and solves the worry over whether or not the government is going to be there for them. That's a huge mistake most of the time, says Miller and what they need to know is how to do proper planning.
Miller recommends working with a retirement planner who's actually in the business, to explore all of the options and look at the differences. "You need all of the information available to make the best decision," says Miller.
According to the CDC, the life expectancy age has increased from 69.2 in 1940 to 78.7 years today. Miller adds that one study indicates that only about 50% of retirees feel somewhat confident that they'll have a comfortable retirement. "It pays to secure the highest and best income from this source that you can," says Miller.
Miller says it's important to focus on how to maximize benefits for not only a couple but also for the surviving spouse. Additionally, tax planning and retirement planning should go hand in hand. Miller believes that most people don't realize the interest they earn in an investment account or part-time job is going to affect the taxes they pay on their social security benefits. They can reposition assets or look at some ways to increase their income sources so they can minimize or even eliminate the taxes to pay on their social security benefits.
The bottom line, says Miller, is people need to find an advisor that really understands social security planning and how it relates to these different areas.