What is FRA?

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People are very confused about the term FRA or Full Retirement Age, so we will try and explain. There is not just one age which Social Security considers full retirement age, as it depends on when you were born.

The reason for the term FRA is to define for you what age you are eligible for a 100% benefit amount from your lifetime earnings record. That age use to be 65 until 1983 when Congress changed the law to slightly increase the FRA for people born in 1938 and later. According to current law, if you were born between 1943 and 1954 you have a FRA of age 66. The age for those born after 1954 increases by 2 months for each year between 1955 and 1960 when a maximum age of for FRA is 67. FRA then stays at 67 for anyone born after 1960.

Persons born on the first day of the year, for FRA purposes, are considered to have been born in the previous year. This can be very confusing.

Because the law use to be age 65 for FRA, we get calls and consistently have clients that still think they will receive their 100% benefit at age 65 – NOT SO! They will go to the Social Security office and think they can kill two birds with one stone – file for Medicare and Social Security all at one time. You can do this if you wish, but please be aware of the lifetime consequences. By filing at age 65, you have eliminated delayed retirement credits, claiming strategies to improve your benefit amount, reduced your survivor benefit, and reduced potential income potential because you now will have to adhere to Earnings Limitations rules and regulations.

Hope this makes the muddy water a little clearer.

Call Pillars LLC at 601-954-0699 and Roy and Diane will help you with these decisions and show you how to maximize your benefit and accomplish your personal goals. They are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of 40+ years. We are in Corinth but service clients in all 50 states.


GOOD NEWS

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As Roy and I were listening to one of our required webinars, we heard the GOOD NEWS – in the last three years, people filing for Social Security at age 62 has been reduced from 45% to 28%!! People are finally listening to our message.

Okay, we understand that some people need to file at age 62, and that is fine. But, what we try to emphasize over and over is that you have other options that should be reviewed. Pillars LLC looks at your Social Security statement not with a STOP sign on it, but a GO sign for ways you can file, still have an income flow, and capitalize on a higher income stream and a greatly improved Survivor Benefit. Also, we review your situation collectively (married couples, not individually)– makes a huge difference through your life expectancy.

If you are reading this and think this is a joke, shame on you. Especially those individuals that turned age 62 by January 1, 2016 and older, you have a golden opportunity to Improve your position that will not be available after 2020. Don’t delay and don’t become a 45% statistic.

Education and Timing are KEY – and be careful because much of the information on the internet is FAKE NEWS about Social Security. We read probably 15-20 articles per day on Social Security that are national headline news. We just shake our heads, because so many of these articles lead individuals in the wrong direction for advice.

So, how do you get this information and feel comfortable that you are getting the best advice considering your individual circumstances? Well, you could attend a Pillars LLC seminar – we have several seminars being scheduled for the fall. Or you can call us for an individual consultation now. Whatever works best for you.

Social Security has 2,728 rules and regulations. It is not possible, even in a seminar, to cover all the laws that pertain to the law change that took place on November 2, 2015. The Bi-Partisan Budget Act made Social Security more difficult and further complicated what was already confusing. Claiming strategies that allowed people to file many ways, as stated earlier, will be a thing of the past in 2020.

Client Testimonial:

Thank you, Pillars LLC, for wading through all the “stuff” about Social Security and retirement and making our options easy to see and understand. We had gotten so confused that we started to just take whatever. Now, we feel much more in control of our choices and excited about OUR decisions. I heartily recommend Pillars LLC to all who are nearing the age of decision about SS. They are knowledgeable, caring and on-the-ball about a confusing area.

Rev. Donnie and Cynthia Stuart, Pelahatchie, MS

Call Pillars LLC at 601-954-0699 and Roy and Diane will help you with these decisions and show you how to maximize your benefit and accomplish your personal goals. They are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of 40+ years. We are in Corinth but service clients in all 50 states.


Working During Retirement

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Many of our clients after reviewing the actual costs associated with retirement, are opting to work part-time to supplement their income. Some also miss working and being around co-workers so head in this direction for social reasons. Social Security has changed over the decades. Folks use to decide when they wanted to retire, shook the hands of their co-workers and went their merry way. Not so in 2017. Longer life expectancies and swelling health-care costs have made it more difficult for people to fund retirement, which could feasibly last as long as your working years.

Full retirement age was age 65 when the Social Security program was launched in 1935. In fact, not many people were expected to live long enough to even draw their benefit amount. As more people were retiring and living longer and funds were being drawn from the Trust Fund, the Social Security Administration decided to move the Full Retirement Age from 65 to 66. They also decided that some of these benefits needed to be taxed. Again, the Full Retirement Age has been moved to age 67 and the benefit can be taxes from zero to 85% of your adjusted gross income.

Whatever, your situation, it can be accomplished with a little planning and flexibility. If you decide to file for your benefit prior to Full Retirement Age, and are married, both of you can work but will be limited to earning $16,920 per year (each) without being penalized by the SSA. This number changes to $44,480 (each) the year that you turn Full Retirement Age. Once you turn Full Retirement Age, the earnings limit disappears and any benefits lost to the earnings cap would be restored in the form of larger monthly benefits. But along with this decision, you must realize you are taking a cut in your benefit amount, and decreasing your Survivor Benefit amount.

Maybe if married, one of you wants to draw prior to Full Retirement Age and the other is going to wait on benefits and continue working. This is a viable option as well. With this choice, you need to make sure that you are well-versed in the rules and regulations regarding Social Security as it may benefit you as a couple for the unlikely one to draw, and the other continues to work. The numbers will tell the story.

Call Pillars LLC at 601-954-0699 and Roy and Diane will help you with these decisions and show you how to maximize your benefit and accomplish your personal goals. They are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of 40+ years. We are in Corinth but service clients in all 50 states.


Claiming Strategies are the REAL DEAL

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Social Security laws changed on November 2, 2015 with the passage of the Bi-Partisan Budget Act. They will change again in 2020 when claiming strategies will no longer be available. There is an urgency to our message – the ability to improve your benefit amount and your survivor benefit will greatly be minimized. Those of you reading this article that turned age 62 by January 1, 2016 need to pay close attention!!

The best way to show you why to pay attention is to give you a real-life client summary:

Wife – born in June 1955 – Full Retirement Age benefit amount is $2475

Husband – born in November 1953 – Full Retirement Age benefit amount is $2512

What are their options?

THE BEST – Best they can ever do based on numbers and life expectancy of 85 for him and 88 for her:

Wife begins benefits at age 64.5 months in the amount of $2,186 (reduction because she took benefit early)

Husband files a Restricted Application at age 66 – income will be $1,238. At age 70 draws his own benefit in the amount of $3,316 (has grown at 8% per year with Delayed Retirement Credits).

Lifetime benefit amount is $1,416,645 and Survivor Benefit is $3,316.

Husband can continue working and draw Spousal Benefit because he is Full Retirement Age and will not be hit with Earnings Limitations – wife will have to limit income to $16,920 per year until Full Retirement Age.

INCOME STREAM – CAN CONTINUE WORKING – BENEFITS GROWING

EARLY –    

Lifetime benefit amount is $1,166,804 and Survivor Benefit is $2,072.

BOTH WILL BE RESTRICTED TO EARNINGS OF $16,920 PER YEAR IF THEY RETURN TO WORK

FULL RETIREMENT AGE

Lifetime benefit amount is $1,283,509 and Survivor Benefit is $2,512

BOTH CAN RETURN TO WORK, EARN AS MUCH AS THEY LIKE AND NOT DEAL WITH EARNINGS LIMITATIONS, but did not use Claiming Strategies which reduces lifetime maximum.

ALTERNATIVE OPTION (one of many)–

Wife draws at age 63 – $1959

Husband draws at age 65 – $2344

Lifetime benefit amount is $1,227,923 and Survivor Benefit is $2344.

BOTH WILL BE RESTRICTED TO EARNINGS OF $16,920 PER YEAR IF THEY RETURN TO WORK

AGE 70 –

Wife benefit – $3,234

Husband benefit – $3,316

Lifetime benefit amount is $1,379,466 and Survivor Benefit is $3,316.

We have only included a few of the options, but this will get the point across:

  1. Survivor benefit amount ranges from $2,072 – $3,316 per month for life. This is a huge difference of over $1300 per month. Remember when one person dies only the highest check remains.
  2. Lifetime benefit amount ranges from $1,166, 804 – $1,416,645 – almost $250,000 difference based on the decision you make about filing.
  3. None of the options leave you without income.
  4. These options were based on their desires for retirement – customized to meet their choices.
  5. You will notice that the difference between THE BEST and Age 70 options is $37,000. So many people say they will just wait until age 70 and that is not the BEST Option. You just flushed $37,000 down the toilet due to lack of education on the matter, plus you missed an income stream between Full Retirement Age and 70.

Remember, make a PLAN and don’t miss this opportunity to improve your Social Security benefit. Professional advice is simply a phone call away at 601-954-0699 or email us at dthompson@pillarsllc.com or visit our website at www.pillarsllc.com. Roy and Diane are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of 40 years.   We are Corinth, MS residents, but we service clients nationwide.


What Does Longevity Have to do with Social Security?

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According to the 2015 Social Security report, less than 7% of people with enough quarters to draw their Social Security benefit died prior to receiving. There are three other groups of individuals that will not receive benefits – infrequent workers who do not have sufficient earnings to qualify for benefits, non-covered workers such as state and local government employees who did not pay into the program, and immigrants who arrive in the United States at 50 or older and therefore have not worked long enough to qualify for benefits.

Benefits are affected by how long you live, which is changing with every new breakthrough in the medical field. Life expectancy data is changing as well – one of every four 65 years olds will live past age 90. The average life expectancy in the US for men is 85 years old and for women it is 88 years old. As we talk to clients, most people are more concerned about dying early, than living too long. This is a mindset that needs to be discussed.

As you get older, the cost of medical expenses increases. That is why it is so important when looking at your Social Security benefit, to have professional present options that will improve your Survivor benefit. When one of the married couple dies, only one check is remaining – the higher of the two. So, it only makes sense to try and improve this benefit. Statistically women outlive men – so, you are looking at years of additional income needed for the spouse, that is now compromised by receiving only one check, not two. Big difference!!

Therefore, we tell people they need a PLAN – Social Security should not be taken just because you are entitled to receive it. When, how and why need to be factored into your decision. Professional advice is simply a phone call away at 601-954-0699 or email us at dthompson@pillarsllc.com or visit our website at www.pillarsllc.com. Roy and Diane are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of 40 years. We are Corinth, MS residents, but we service clients nationwide.


Know Before You Go

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A whopping 85% of Americans fail to maximize their Social Security benefits! If that is not bad enough, at least 70% of retiring Americans (10,000 per day) accept less than what they are entitled at full retirement! Why? Lack of understanding of the rules & regulations and/or lack of education about Social Security and the options available to those of retirement age is that WHY. Also, for some reason, people think the words retirement and Social Security are synonymous – they are not! We are seeing more and more clients that are wanting to RE-DO or SUSPEND their benefits until a later age because they are unhappy with the decision they made at filing day or their life situation changed.

RE-DO is when you are within the one year (not one year and one day) period of receiving your first benefit you can change your mind about your filing decision. This is available to everyone, but comes with a tough caveat – you must pay back all the money you received including spousal or family benefits paid off the worker’s Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). You do not have to pay any interest or penalty on the money that needs to be paid back.

Why would someone do this? Because they realized, through education that filing as early as possible may not be the correct answer for them – ELIMINATES Delayed Retirement Credits, REDUCES Survivor Benefits, REDUCES benefit amount by 25-30%, ELIMINATES claiming strategies that can greatly improve your lifetime income stream, and LIMITS your income potential because of the Earnings Limitations rules. Enough said.

Some people need to draw at age 62 but we want them to know their options and the ramifications of their decision. It is heartbreaking to sit down with a couple that has realized their mistake and cannot afford a RE-DO.

SUSPEND is when you are at least Full Retirement Age (depends on your DOB) and voluntarily stop your benefit and decide to restart later, thus allowing your benefit to improve with Delayed Retirement Credits at 8% per year plus any Cost of Living Adjustments. Caution, any other benefits such as Spousal Benefits paid off your work record will also be suspended. This does not require repayment of funds, but you must be Full Retirement Age. Before you do this, you need to make sure that the numbers make sense for this strategy. Remember, every Social Security situation is personal – it is your story, your top 35 years of earnings history that cannot be duplicated. Advice from a friend, family member or other individual that is well-meaning, but has little knowledge of your situation and the law, throw up a CAUTION FLAG.

There is one other way to correct what you consider a filing mistake (drawing between the ages of 62-66/67) – working more. You would not suspend or re-do, but based on your salary, Social Security would reduce your benefit $1 for every $2 you earn over $16,920 per year. Good news, once you hit Full Retirement Age most of the benefits withheld due to your earnings are reinstated allowing your future Social Security benefit to grow. Unfortunately, you never recoup every $ lost to the “Earnings Test” reduction.

Professional advice is simply a phone call away at 601-954-0699 or email us at dthompson@pillarsllc.com or visit our website at www.pillarsllc.com. Roy and Diane are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of 40 years. We are Corinth, MS residents, but we service clients nationwide.


Age Matters

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With the passage of the Bi-Partisan Budget Act on November 2, 2015, age became a determining factor concerning options in the Social Security world.

Congress, to close loopholes they had created, (we call them claiming strategies) placed beneficiaries into categories we call TIERS. This is the breakdown on Tiers:

Tier 1 – if you turned age 66 by April 30, 2016, you could utilize the claiming strategies File and Suspend and/or Restricted Application. File and Suspend is a choice of the past and no longer available to Tier 1 individuals.

Tier 2 – if you turned age 62 by January 1, 2016, you are eligible to file the claiming strategy Restricted Application. If you are in Tier 1 and missed out on File and Suspend, you are eligible for this option as well.

Tier 3 – everyone else.
How does this affect me and my filing options? In many, many ways. Clients that are age 62 by January 1, 2016 and older can greatly improve their position on Social Security with the knowledge of the Rules and Regulations (2,728 rules) that encompass this claiming strategy. You as a couple, or as a divorced individual, have filing options that others cannot capitalize on. Also, in the Bi-Partisan Budget Act they did not change the rules affecting Survivor Benefits. This is an area where we see many poor choices about the options available.

What if I am in Tier 1 and my spouse is in Tier 2? Good question as this situation needs professional review. Different rules for different TIERS so professional advice is strongly recommended.

If you file early, you will reduce and many times eliminate your options. Your benefit is not the only benefit that needs to be reviewed – Pillars LLC reviews your situation collectively for optimal income stream. Many people do not realize that if divorced, you can possibly file for a divorced spousal benefit off the other party. If you meet the rules and regulations, the other party’s benefit will not be affected, nor will they even know that you have filed off their benefit (this applies to both men and women).

We see middle America earners, all day long, with a combined Social Security benefit for their life expectancy in excess of over a million dollars. Social Security is an asset that should not be left to guess work.

Professional advice is simply a phone call away at 601-954-0699 or email us at dthompson@pillarsllc.com or visit our website at www.pillarsllc.com. Roy and Diane are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of 40 years. We are Corinth, MS residents, but we service clients nationwide.


Working During Retirement

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Part II
Hope you had a chance to read Part I of this series as it contained very important information for the ladies in our communities. As we continue this article, I am going to give you a likely example of the concerns for women:

1. SALLY – married 22 years – divorced but single
2. Age – 62 years old
3. Working, but her company is downsizing and she will probably be let go
4. Her PIA (Primary Insurance Amount) is $900 per month as she stayed home for many years raising the children

Her question to us was – how in the world can I live on $900 per month? And actually, if she drew her benefit at age 62, it would only be $712 per month.

Now, let’s take a look at her full situation based on the Rules and Regulations. RULES MATTER

1. Since she is still single, had been married 10 years and divorced for two years, and is currently age 62, she is entitled to a benefit off her ex-husband’s benefit amount.
2. Wait a minute – she just told me her ex-husband has passed away.
3. He was a surgeon and his benefit was $2,735 per month.
4. Sally is entitled to an Ex-Spousal Survivor Benefit of $2,735 per month if taken at her Full Retirement Age. Or if she takes it today, will be reduced to $2324 per month. Or Sally (because she turned age 62 prior to January 1, 2016 – Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2015) can begin her benefits at age 62/10 months in the amount of $712 and switch to FULL Ex-Spousal Survivor Benefits at age 66 in the amount of $2,735.

Hope this example brings home many points to our readers – had Sally just gone to the Social Security office and filed for her benefit at age 62, her Life Expectancy (age 90) benefit amount would have been $239,232.00 vs. her best case scenario, after all questions were answered and all rules considered, her Life Expectancy benefit amount is $814,755.00. Therefore, this is why we do, what we do.

Social Security is not a one size fits all or even a one size fits most situation – EVERY situation is different and needs professional review. Professional advice is simply a phone call away at 601-954-0699 or email us at dthompson@pillarsllc.com or visit our website at www.pillarsllc.com. Roy and Diane are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of 40 years. We are Corinth, MS residents, but we service clients nationwide.


Good News

Posted on by hgasaway Leave a comment

As Roy and I were listening to one of our required webinars, we heard the GOOD NEWS – in the last three years, people filing for Social Security at age 62 has been reduced from 45% to 28%!! People are finally listening to our message.

Okay, we understand that some people need to file at age 62, and that is fine. But, what we try to emphasize over and over is that you have other options that should be reviewed. Pillars LLC looks at your Social Security statement not with a STOP sign on it, but a GO sign for ways you can file, still have an income flow, and capitalize on a higher income stream and a greatly improved Survivor Benefit. Also, we review your situation collectively (married couples, not individually)– makes a huge difference through your life expectancy.

If you are reading this and think this is a joke, shame on you. Especially those individuals that turned age 62 by January 1, 2016 and older, you have a golden opportunity to Improve your position that will not be available after 2020. Don’t delay and don’t become a 45% statistic.

Education and Timing are KEY – and be careful because much of the information on the internet is FAKE NEWS about Social Security. We read probably 15-20 articles per day on Social Security that are national headline news. We just shake our heads, because so many of these articles lead individuals in the wrong direction for advice.

So, how do you get this information and feel comfortable that you are getting the best advice considering your individual circumstances? Well, you could attend a Pillars LLC seminar – we have several seminars being scheduled for the fall. Or you can call us for an individual consultation now. Whatever works best for you.

Social Security has 2,728 rules and regulations. It is not possible, even in a seminar, to cover all the laws that pertain to the law change that took place on November 2, 2015. The Bi-Partisan Budget Act made Social Security more difficult and further complicated what was already confusing. Claiming strategies that allowed people to file many ways, as stated earlier, will be a thing of the past in 2020.

Client Testimonial:

Thank you, Pillars LLC, for wading through all the “stuff” about Social Security and retirement and making our options easy to see and understand. We had gotten so confused that we started to just take whatever. Now, we feel much more in control of our choices and excited about OUR decisions. I heartily recommend Pillars LLC to all who are nearing the age of decision about SS. They are knowledgeable, caring and on-the-ball about a confusing area.
Rev. Donnie and Cynthia Stuart, Pelahatchie, MS

Call Pillars LLC at 601-954-0699 and Roy and Diane will help you with these decisions and show you how to maximize your benefit and accomplish your personal goals. They are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of 40+ years. We are in Corinth but service clients in all 50 states.


Claiming Strategies are the REAL DEAL

Posted on by hgasaway Leave a comment

Social Security laws changed on November 2, 2015 with the passage of the Bi-Partisan Budget Act. They will change again in 2020 when claiming strategies will no longer be available. There is an urgency to our message – the ability to improve your benefit amount and your survivor benefit will greatly be minimized. Those of you reading this article that turned age 62 by January 1, 2016 need to pay close attention!!

The best way to show you why to pay attention is to give you a real-life client summary:
Wife – born in June 1955 – Full Retirement Age benefit amount is $2475
Husband – born in November 1953 – Full Retirement Age benefit amount is $2512

What are their options?
THE BEST – Best they can ever do based on numbers and life expectancy of 85 for him and 88 for her:
Wife begins benefits at age 64.5 months in the amount of $2,186 (reduction because she took benefit early)
Husband files a Restricted Application at age 66 – income will be $1,238. At age 70 draws his own benefit in the amount of $3,316 (has grown at 8% per year with Delayed Retirement Credits).
Lifetime benefit amount is $1,416,645 and Survivor Benefit is $3,316.
Husband can continue working and draw Spousal Benefit because he is Full Retirement Age and will not be hit with Earnings Limitations – wife will have to limit income to $16,920 per year until Full Retirement Age.

INCOME STREAM – CAN CONTINUE WORKING – BENEFITS GROWING

EARLY –
Lifetime benefit amount is $1,166,804 and Survivor Benefit is $2,072.
BOTH WILL BE RESTRICTED TO EARNINGS OF $16,920 PER YEAR IF THEY RETURN TO WORK

FULL RETIREMENT AGE –
Lifetime benefit amount is $1,283,509 and Survivor Benefit is $2,512
BOTH CAN RETURN TO WORK, EARN AS MUCH AS THEY LIKE AND NOT DEAL WITH EARNINGS LIMITATIONS, but did not use Claiming Strategies which reduces lifetime maximum.

ALTERNATIVE OPTION (one of many)–
Wife draws at age 63 – $1959
Husband draws at age 65 – $2344
Lifetime benefit amount is $1,227,923 and Survivor Benefit is $2344.
BOTH WILL BE RESTRICTED TO EARNINGS OF $16,920 PER YEAR IF THEY RETURN TO WORK

AGE 70 –
Wife benefit – $3,234
Husband benefit – $3,316
Lifetime benefit amount is $1,379,466 and Survivor Benefit is $3,316.

We have only included a few of the options, but this will get the point across:
1. Survivor benefit amount ranges from $2,072 – $3,316 per month for life. This is a huge difference of over $1300 per month. Remember when one person dies only the highest check remains.
2. Lifetime benefit amount ranges from $1,166, 804 – $1,416,645 – almost $250,000 difference based on the decision you make about filing.
3. None of the options leave you without income.
4. These options were based on their desires for retirement – customized to meet their choices.
5. You will notice that the difference between THE BEST and Age 70 options is $37,000. So many people say they will just wait until age 70 and that is not the BEST Option. You just flushed $37,000 down the toilet due to lack of education on the matter, plus you missed an income stream between Full Retirement Age and 70.

Remember, make a PLAN and don’t miss this opportunity to improve your Social Security benefit. Professional advice is simply a phone call away at 601-954-0699 or email us at dthompson@pillarsllc.com or visit our website at www.pillarsllc.com. Roy and Diane are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of 40 years. We are Corinth, MS residents, but we service clients nationwide.