UPCOMING EVENTS

SEMINARS FOR SEPTEMBER 2016

MONROEVILLE / PITTSBURGH
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
2:00PM
Courtyard Marriott / Monroeville
3962 Wm Penn Highway
Monroeville, PA 15146
Between Sheetz and Eat ‘n Park
 
MURRYSVLLE / DELMONT
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
7:00PM
Holiday Inn Express
Delmont/Murrysville
6552 Route 22
Delmont, PA 15626
Behind Lamplighter Restaurant on Rt. 22
 
HARMARVILLE / PITTSBURGH
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
2:00PM
TownePlace Suites / Pittsburgh
2785 Freeport Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
Just off of Exit 48 of PA Turnpike
 
MONROEVILLE
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
7:00PM
The Estate Planning Centers
3824 Northern Pike, Suite 801B
One Monroeville Center
Monroeville, PA 15146
Just west of Red Lobster on Rt. 22
 
MURRYSVLLE / DELMONT
Saturday, September 17, 2016
10:00AM
Holiday Inn Express
Delmont/Murrysville
6552 Route 22
Delmont, PA 15626
Behind Lamplighter Restaurant
 

 
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Proudly serving clients throughout Allegheny, Westmoreland, Butler, Fayette, and Washington Counties; including Pittsburgh, Monroeville, Greensburg, Latrobe, Cranberry, Wexford, Sewickley and YOUR community.
Still Time To Capture Extra Social Security Benefits
Caution: The Loophole is Closing Soon!
 
Many of my clients receive Social Security checks each month, and very few (i.e. none) feel that those checks are too large. If you knew that you could increase the size of your Social Security check by taking advantage of a loop-hole when you started your benefits, you would probably wouldn't want to overlook that. Many people, however,  have done just that, and failed to maximize their benefits for the rest of their retirement. The loophole in the law which permits such an increase, however, is about to be closed by a change in the law. For married clients considering when to start their Social Security benefits, it is definitely time for a close look. If you have already started to receive benefits, there may technically be a solution, but you probably won't like it.
 
When Congress passed the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act in 2000, it was intended to let retirees delay receipt of their Social Security check and continue working in order to increase the later size of their benefit. Clever financial professionals discovered that there were fully legal strategies which could exploit the lackadaisical way the law was drafted in order to increase a married couple's benefits. With the "lightning speed" at which our government works, after only 15 years, that mistake is being fixed. On October 30, 2015, the Senate passed an approved House bill to eliminate these strategies (Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015), but delayed implementation for six months and grandfathered in people already exploiting the technique. President Obama signed the new law on November 2, 2015.
 
The strategy being eliminated involves the "file and suspend" and the "restricted application" elections, which made it possible for one spouse to file for Social Security benefits, but delay their right to get monthly checks. During the suspension of benefits, they continue to accrue the annual increase in Social Security benefits at 8% per year. How many investments earn a guaranteed 8%? In the meantime, the non-filing spouse elects to receive spousal benefits under the earnings record of the spouse who filed. This gets a stream of income coming into the house, while letting the main benefit continue to grow for a few more years. This would also increase the size of the "survivor's benefit" if the suspended spouse later dies. Ask anyone who has been retired for a while if they wish they had started with a larger base benefit. The longer we live, the more we wish we hadn't been in such a hurry to get that check.
 
The purpose of this article is not to educate you on the intricacies of this strategy, so I'm not going to run examples here. There are a wealth of articles already published in magazines and on the internet on the issue. (Just search "Social Security file and suspend").  AARP has good information, and economist Laurence Kotlikoff has written extensively for PBS and NPR on the issue. Instead, the two points I want to make are:
 
  1. There is a current strategy that may increase net income for couples in their 60's who haven't yet elected Social Security benefits but are eligible to do so; and
     
  2. That strategy is going away unless you take advantage of it in the next 4 months!
 
If you are already obtaining benefits, the full use of this strategy might require you to repay benefits received to-date from other savings, and effetively hit restart on your benefits. The numbers can be attractive, but many people just don't like the thought of giving back the money they already received. (I told you that you wouln't like it.)
 
For all of you who may be eligible for Social Security benefits but haven't started taking them yet, I heartily encourage you to get some advice on this issue ASAP. Don't just "wing it", and don't put it off. Talk to your financial advisor, or give us a call to set up a time to come in an talk with an expert about how the system works, and how you can best game the system. When in doubt, I'd err on the side of asking some questions.
 
Feel free to give us a call if you'd like to schedule a time to sit down and talk with a professional about these issues, or any other planning issues on your mind.