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Social Security Benefits Analysis

Determining when to claim your Social Security benefits will be one of the most important decisions you make in your lifetime. Making the correct decision can mean tens of thousands of extra retirement dollars. There are also over 81 different ways for married couples to file for benefits!

This decision is too important to leave to guesswork, you need to make sure you have a Social Security maximization analysis.

The financial advisors at Dechtman Wealth Management can help you with your Social Security planning, so you can confidently make an informed decision. We can help you understand the complex Social Security rules, and stay ahead of future changes, as you determine the best time to file.

As a full-service fiduciary wealth management firm with over 39 years of experience, Dechtman Wealth Management can help with all aspects of your financial planning, from retirement to investments, and more.

Contact our team to receive your complimentary Social Security benefits analysis today.

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What Is Social Security?

Social Security is a government-sponsored retirement benefit program designed to replace some of your income while you’re retired. If you’ve worked and paid Social Security taxes on your income, you’ve been contributing to the Social Security system and will be able to file for benefits once you’ve reached a certain age. Receiving a Social Security planning benefits analysis can help you understand what benefits you can expect at various filing ages.

What Are the Social Security

Social Security financial benefits are calculated based on a few factors — how long you’ve worked, how much you’ve earned, and how many “quarters” you have accumulated. A quarter is basically one point, that qualifies you for Social Security funds. Currently, workers earn one quarter for every $1,6400 earned in 2023 (adjusted yearly for inflation) with a cap of four quarters per year.

There are some stipulations when applying for Social Security early. For example, the Social Security retirement earnings test is a rule that affects individuals who choose to claim Social Security retirement benefits before reaching their full retirement age (FRA) and continue working. Its purpose is to regulate the amount of Social Security benefits a person can receive based on their earnings.

There are also different considerations to think about when deciding when to apply.Looking closely at Social Security as one piece of the retirement puzzle, and considering your full set of financial goals for retirement, and how your investment management plan can help you get there, is crucial.

Our Denver social security financial advisors can help you determine when to apply and discuss other financial moves to make your retirement even better.

Who Is Eligible for Social Security Benefits?

Retired Workers. You become eligible for Social Security by working in a Social Security-covered job for at least 10 years in order to reach your needed 40 quarters. If you earn 4 quarters each year for 10 years, you accumulate the 40 quarters necessary to be fully insured and achieve basic eligibility.

Spouses. If you are a spouse of a retired worker, you may qualify for spousal benefits now or in the future. If you are divorced, you may also qualify for benefits if certain conditions are met.

Survivors. If you are the widow or widower of a retired worker, you are probably eligible for Social Security survivor benefits.

How Your Social Security Retirement Benefits Are Calculated

The size of your benefit in retirement depends on how much you earned during your working life. The Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps a record of how much you made every year, up to a ceiling ($160,200 in 2023). Any amount you made over that annual ceiling doesn’t get taxed by Social Security and doesn’t figure into the formula.

When it’s time for you to apply for benefits, the SSA will look at your highest 35 years of earnings. They’ll then apply a formula to arrive at your basic benefit, which is the amount that you will be eligible to collect at your full retirement age.

Once you’ve filed, your Social Security benefits may increase each year due to cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). COLA is intended to help keep pace with inflation and can vary from year to year.

You can find out more about it, and access a Social Security benefits calculator at the SSA’s website,

Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits

If you apply for Social Security at your full retirement age (66 to 67 depending on your birth year), you will receive your full primary insurance amount (PIA) as your benefit. Early eligibility begins at age 62, and if you apply at this age, your monthly benefit will be permanently lowered. In some cases, your monthly benefit can be reduced by up to 30%. This is why it’s important to meet with a social security benefits advisor before making any big decisions.

The age at which you apply for Social Security benefits has a tremendous impact on your monthly income and the total amount of benefits you stand to receive over your lifetime. Determining the optimal claiming strategy through a Social Security analysis has significant ramifications for you, and your loved ones.

When Should You Apply for Social Security?

If you apply for Social Security when you first become eligible at 62, your benefits will be 70% to 75% of your PIA, or the amount you collect at your full retirement age (FRA), depending on your birth year. On the other hand, if you delay claiming benefits past your full retirement age, you will earn delayed credits. For each year you delay the start of benefits, your benefit will increase by 8% per year up to age 70, prorated monthly.

Your optimal claiming strategy can only be answered in the context of your overall financial plan. It’s important to have a financial plan with clearly defined goals and then determine a claiming strategy with a Social Security retirement planner to help you achieve those goals.

We Are Here to Help

Don’t leave one of the most important decisions of your life to guesswork – get the answers!

The key to choosing the right Social Security retirement planning strategy is to plan carefully and look holistically at your entire financial picture. Dechtman Wealth Management, in Denver, CO, can provide you with a comprehensive Social Security analysis that illustrates your expected income stream under differing claiming scenarios.

Our state-of-the-art Social Security analysis calculator and planning software takes out the guesswork and helps you choose the right benefits at the right time. Making the right decisions could mean tens of thousands of extra dollars in income during retirement.

Please contact us if you have questions about your Social Security retirement benefits.