Navigating Social Security Changes

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Two popular Social Security strategies are on their way out in 2016.

Tax planners refer to them as "claim now and claim more later” and “file-and-suspend” strategies, and both are going to end on May 1.

Each allows for the collection of benefits by a spouse while the other spouse defers payments to let their funds grow in one form or another.

The good news is that if your clients are already utilizing these methods, they will be grandfathered in. Similarly, if they are 66 or will turn 66 before May, they can still file for these strategies before the deadline.

They also may want to take advantage of two potentially endangered strategies: the surviving ex-spouse and widow collection options.

Advisors may want to encourage clients to make these moves soon, and while they're at it, highlight the facts and trends they should know before the changes take effect. Armed with these details, advisors can help clients with both retirement and tax planning in the coming months. Click here for a slideshow version.

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Technology and medicine have enabled more of us to live longer and stronger lives, but that comes with costs on the back end, and Social Security is no exception. According to the Voya Retire Ready Index study, 65% of retirees said they expected to live more than 20 years in retirement, while only 40% believed their savings would last beyond 20 years.

The study also found that 59% of workers are “extremely concerned or very concerned” that they would outlive their savings.

Experts note that it doesn’t mean the program is, or will go bankrupt, but it serves as a clear sign that policy changes need to be made.

Every dollar earned after that amount is not subject to Social Security taxes. A somewhat controversial proposal to raise the payroll tax cap in order to raise additional funds for the program has floated around for several years.

Additionally, 65% say they rely on Social Security for over half of their income.

GAO also found that only half of that 52% expect to draw money from a company pension.


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Retirement planning