Things That Social Security Can’t Tell You

This post is not a myth. 

It’s a more thorough response to a question asked at the end of my two-hour Social Security classes: 

“What are the things Social Security can’t tell me?”

My broad response was that they can’t tell you what you should do, only the effects of your timing.

There are a lot of reasons for this, none of which imply Social Security reps withhold information or are not knowledgeable.  Rather, it simply is not their job nor in their capacity to provide the answers listed below. 

So, off the top of my head, here is a very short partial list of:

The Things Social Security Representatives Cannot Tell You

How and why to estimate your longevity
How much your cumulative payout might be if you claim at different ages
The difference between real and nominal COLA increments
How much of your benefit may be taxable
Strategies to reduce that taxation
Strategies to reduce taxation in general
Your potential lifetime income and estate tax bill
How, whether and when to do Roth conversions
Whether your budget and your savings permit your ideal claiming strategy
Whether Social Security is solvent
How to discover and make explicit your most important goals
How to connect your goals to your finances to increase the odds they’ll happen
The pros and cons of alternatives for achieving your goals
How to assess the risks, fees and real return of your portfolios
How to assess the appropriate levels and types of risk for your unique situation
How to create lifetime income payments similar to your Social Security annuity
How much of your savings and investments you can spend and when
How and why to simplify and consolidate your investments
How to find and compare appropriate Medicare coverage
What may happen if you and/or your spouse die sooner than expected
What may happen if you and/or your spouse live longer than expected
The effect on your finances should one or both of you need long term care
Creative solutions for avoiding or reducing those three risks
What sequence risk is and how to avoid it
Whether you can retire when you plan to
The best ways to pass on your estate assets, the pros and cons
How to reduce RMDs and the resulting taxes
How long your money will last with your current budget
How to protect yourself from losing money
How to reduce fees and/or be sure you’re getting value in exchange
How to structure your asset ownership

Again, that’s off the top of my head.  Other issues may come up in the planning process, such as optimizing your employee benefits, the big advantage- and disadvantage -of owning a business, etc.


Your Constructive Comments are Welcome!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Posted in