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Social Security as an Asset Class

July 23, 2015

If you have ever worked in the United States or were married to someone who did, the chances are you will eventually receive Social Security benefits.  There are different ages when regular benefits can start beginning at age 62.  The longer the benefits are delayed, the greater they will be… until reaching age 70.

There are also many rules.  Payments on behalf of minor children are paid if a parent dies or attains age 65.  A married person can get benefits based on their spouse’s record if it will be greater than if based on their own account.  Benefits are reduced if taken before the full retirement age (age 66 and a few months) and are increased if you wait until your 70th birthday.

A spouse can take benefits at age 62 (based on their record), jump it up to half of their spouse’s when they attain their full retirement age but get no jump up beyond that point even though their spouse decides to wait until age 70 to get increased benefits.

Benefits stop at death, but a surviving spouse can then step in to get their deceased spouse’s benefits if greater than their own. There are also rules covering divorced spouses getting benefits based on their ex-spouse’s record and benefits paid to a disabled participant.

That being said, I suggest that Social Security also be treated as an asset class and benefits be taken as late as possible up until the 70th birthday. The return for waiting is an approximate 33% greater annual payout for the rest of your life.  That is a one-third ROI (return on investment) for waiting a little less than four years.  This pales any other form of investment.  And, the way Social Security is set up now, the payouts increase annually based on an inflation factor; and further, all payments are guaranteed.  As an asset class, this should be compared to your other investments.  Very few will provide this great of a return.

For those that do not need this money, waiting is a no-brainer.  For those that do, they should consider withdrawing needed funds from other asset categories they already have, even if they have to take early taxable withdrawals from retirement accounts and annuities or sell stocks.  The best would be to spend down cash and some fixed income investments where the tax bite would be minimal, if at all.  Work out the numbers and see for yourself.

Instead of looking at Social Security as a government entitlement that you want to get your hands on as quickly as you can, consider it an investment that will provide a far greater ROI by waiting than any other investment you have.  Social Security is an asset class!

There are many other Social Security strategies that should be followed up on.  The purpose of this article is to call attention to the potential of treating your benefits as an asset class.  Further information can be obtained from www.ssa.gov .

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2015 8:02 am

    This was a brilliant article regarding social security; I really enjoyed it. I especially loved the concise way in which you conveyed all the information that was needed. Allow me a brief introduction: I’m a 15 year old with an interest in finance and economics, who shares his views at shreysfinanceblog.com If you could read and reblog one of my articles, it would be very much appreciated! Thanks again for this lovely article.

  2. Robert Nagler permalink
    July 23, 2015 11:28 am

    very interesting

  3. 6hawthorne permalink
    July 23, 2015 11:29 am

    HI ED VERY INTERESTINGBOB

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