I ran a plan for a couple which recommends the lower earner (male) take benefits at 70, and the higher earner (female) take benefits at 69yrs, 2mos. (He’s 10 months older than her.) I don’t have a problem with that, but when I go to Benefits By Start Age, it shows the higher earner taking spousal benefits at FRA. If it’s recommending she take spousal at FRA, then her own at 69, why doesn’t it say that in the Action Plan?
One thought on “Social Security Maximizer – use of client’s maximum benefits at FRA”
Benefits by start age in the analysis for couples are shown on an individual basis. Whether it’s a client’s benefits on his/her own record, or spousal benefits, they’re displayed just to help the advisor understand what those benefits would be for different start ages as well as when they would be maximum. But the scenario for maximized individual benefits is ofter different from combined benefits. That’s because combined benefits are jointly tested for the combined lifespan of both spouses as well as any survivor benefits.
In the spousal benefits section of the report, the benefits at full retirement age are highlighted. They’re highlighted because if if she were to take just the spousal benefits over her lifetime, they would be maximum if she started at FRA. Since the action plan is for combined lifetime benefits which in this particular case are achieved using benefit on individual records, it’s not mentioned there. This information used to be more useful when file and suspend strategy was around and would remain useful for some time in cases of restricted options.