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Social Security - Answers to Your Most Common Questions

Social Security - Answers to Your Most Common Questions

October 24, 2023

Social Security, the program you may have spent a lifetime paying into, is designed to offer stability, supplemental income, and other valuable benefits that can play a role in your overall financial strategy after you retire. However, the complexity of these benefits tends to generate several frequently asked questions. Here are a few high-level answers to some of the most common questions we’ve received.

1. When Can I Start Collecting Social Security Benefits?

You have the option to claim Social Security benefits as early as age 62. However, your monthly Social Security retirement benefit could be larger by staying in the workforce longer. If you wait until your full retirement age (which varies from 66 to 67 depending on your birth year), you can receive 100% of your monthly retirement benefit. Another advantage of delaying beyond full retirement age is that the Social Security Administration increases your benefit by up to 8% for each year you wait (up to age 70).1

2. How Does Social Security Impact My Retirement Cash Flow?

While you may have a variety of sources of income to tap into during retirement, Social Security should not be overlooked when preparing your distribution strategy. Here’s a hypothetical example that outlines what it might take to replicate the income you could receive from Social Security:

  • Assuming an annual benefit in 2023 of $30,000, you would need to invest approximately $1,000,000 in an investment vehicle that yields 3% to generate that same income.


Remember, this is a hypothetical example used only for descriptive purposes. It is not representative of any specific investment or combination of investments. It’s used to describe the cash flow potential of collecting Social Security benefits.

3. Is Income From Social Security Taxable?

Social Security benefits are taxable, and the rate is based on your income. The Congressional Research Service found that the percentage of all tax returns with taxable Social Security benefits reached 33% in 2017 (the most recent data available). In 1999, fewer than 8% of all taxpayers reported taxable Social Security benefits, while the percentage is expected to increase to more than 50% by 2046.2

4. When Should I Start Taking Benefits?

Deciding when to begin taking Social Security benefits is a critical decision and one of our most common questions. It may seem straightforward, but it’s more complex than it looks. You’ll want to consider your employment status (if you’re still working), your health, and whether your spouse (if you’re married) anticipates drawing benefits. This is an important decision; we’re here to help you better understand how Social Security plays a role in your overall retirement distribution strategy.

If you or someone you know has any questions about Social Security, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help, and we may have the resources to help you better understand your benefits.

1. Nerdwallet.com, May 5, 2023
2. CRSReports.congress.gov, 2020

This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm.