78 million Baby Boomers are retiring or preparing to retire. The question they all face is when to draw their Social Security benefits. One local financial advisor says most people he works with are at risk of leaving $50,000 to $100,000 in unclaimed benefits by not taking their Social Security at the right time.
Louie and Karen Doom are sliding into retirement. Louie is already working part time and Karen has a couple of years on the job to go.
"I do like working. But I like traveling and spending the time with grandkids," Karen Doom said.
Now the dizzying question for the Dooms is when to draw Social Security benefits.
"If you don't need the money, do you wait until you are 70? Do you pull it at 62? 65?" Karen Doom said.
"I thought maybe I should take it earlier, but she thinks maybe we should wait longer because we're both quite healthy," Louie Doom said.
They turned to Matt Mathiesen of Complete Benefits, who holds workshops for Baby Boomers on how to make that decision.
"There are over 80 ways to file for Social Security,” Mathiesen said.
Taking a reduced benefit after the age of 62 may be the best for someone who is disabled or in poor health. But the longer you wait, the higher the monthly check.
"From age 62 to age 66, there's a seven percent roll-up in your payment every single year, guaranteed. From 66 to 70, there's a guaranteed roll up of eight percent every year," Mathiesen said.
The Dooms have decided to take the option of File and Suspend, which allows married taxpayers who retire at different ages to get higher payments.
"That leaves our options open. If something would happen, if one of us would get disabled, we could go and collect Social Security," Karen Doom said.
But what may be right for the Dooms isn't right for everyone.
"Everyone's situation is different. There's not really a silver bullet to that answer," Mathiesen said.
Many people don't realize that the Social Security office can give you information on benefits, but not advice on what's best for your financial situation. Mathiesen's free workshops have attracted hundreds of people trying to figure out their best options. Mathiesen is holding another one next week:
Social Security Benefits Workshop
Tuesday, July 29 or Wednesday, July 30
Homewood Suites by Hilton
3620 W. Avera Dr.
Sioux Falls, SD
Your Money Matters