PLEASE NOTE: Your 2016 Social Security materials will ship in January 2016.

The One Retirement Question Every Single Baby Boomer (all 78+ million) Needs Help Answering

10,000 Baby Boomers a Day—Rich, Poor, Middling—Will Be Asking this Question for the Next 18 Years…Are You Prepared to Answer It?

The Ultimate Retirement Advisor Litmus Test: Here's How to Pass It

Dear Advisor:

Here it is: "When should I file for Social Security benefits?"

3 New Presentations Starburst
It's the question every Boomer needs to answer. Rich or poor. Whether they'll need Social Security to make ends meet or whether they intend to use it to fund an investment program for themselves or, say, their grandkids' education. Or anything else in between.

And here's where you come in…The answer to that question is complicated.

The distribution phase of retirement is a lot more complicated than the accumulation phase.

As a professional financial advisor in good standing in your community, people increasingly will turn to you for expert help in figuring out Social Security's role in their retirement mix.

The reason clients need your help is that there are very few REAL rules of thumb that apply to everyone when it comes to Social Security.

And the decisions clients make at this stage in life depend on a multitude of factors including income, assets, health status, life expectancy, family dynamics, life goals, and a lot more.

Irreversible Decisions and Long-Term Effects

And unlike a lot of other decisions clients made earlier in life, some decisions they will be forced to make now are irreversible. For instance:

  • Starting Social Security at age 62 can cause a client to leave a lot of money on the table if they live well into their 90s.
  • Failure to consider the impact of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and widowhood can severely pinch your clients' lifetime stream of income…
  • Failure to coordinate IRA RMDs with Social Security taxation results in needless diminishment of income that could be put to better use for health care or just enjoying life.
And those are just a few key points. There are literally millions of permutations. For every rule of thumb, there are dozens of exceptions.

And here's the key: From the clients' perspective, there really is no substitute for sitting down with an advisor, spreading the papers around the table, and talking about the clients' life and family, hopes and fears, and developing a retirement plan that makes all aspects of their financial and life goals work together.

But you've really got to know what you're talking about when it comes to Social Security.

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PLEASE NOTE: Your 2016 Social Security materials will ship in January 2016.

We're Not Talking Chicken Feed, Either

Social Security is a lot more valuable than most people realize. Here are a few things to consider. First, it is a lifetime annuity. Once you start getting it, it keeps coming until you die.

Second, it's inflation-protected. A nice benefit, indeed, thanks to annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). With the power of compounding, these annual bumps can really start to add up over the years. This aspect is often overlooked by individuals and advisors.

Third, there is right of survivorship. So when one spouse dies, the other can continue to receive the higher of the two benefits until they die, too.

Consider this example. If a person receives a benefit of $2,000 per month and lives for 30 more years, assuming an annual cost-of-living adjustment of 2.8% (which is what Social Security trustees project under their intermediate-cost scenario), he or she will collect nearly $1.2 million in benefits.

As Elaine Floyd, Horsesmouth's Director of Retirement and Life Planning, says, "Given the great potential of Social Security benefits over a person's lifetime, it makes sense to treat this resource as a significant asset and to make decisions that will maximize it to the greatest possible extent."

In addition, "retirement," or whatever it may be called in the future, will be different for the Boomers.

We already know that. Youth was different. Marriage is different. Career paths are different. Recreation is different. Health is different. Longevity is different. Religiosity is different. It keeps going.

So when it comes to figuring out Social Security, that'll be different, too. Unlike previous generations, they won't just pad on down to the local Social Security office and sign up.

They've got a lot of questions. Should they apply now? What if they keep working? How will their decision affect their spouse's benefits? A dissection of all things Social Security is in the offing.

So how prepared are advisors to respond?

What Do Advisors Know About Social Security?
Not Enough…

Several years ago we started thinking about the best way to help advisors help their clients regarding Social Security. We sensed advisors were lacking expertise in this basic retirement income topic.

Dry and Boring Made Very User Friendly—Clients and Prospects Eager

"First of all, thank you for your work and the resource you have become for advisors in the arena of Social Security. I purchased the Horsesmouth curriculum several months ago and have been a student of it since. I am planning to hold my first workshops in September and already have clients and prospects eager to attend.

"I also want you to know that I enjoy reading your material because it is so well done and friendly! I say friendly because this stuff is so dry and boring and unattractive in and of itself (unless one is an actuary), and you have made it very user friendly. Thank you again."

—Susan Tackett, Visalia, CA
We knew anecdotally that clients often asked advisors about Social Security. Some advisors admitted they didn't know as much as they felt they should about the topic. And that's a problem…

After all, when it comes to figuring retirement income streams—regardless of your client's wealth—Social Security is guaranteed and inflation protected. You can't disregard it!

So we decided to conduct a survey to gauge the level of advisor expertise and interest on this issue…The results surprised and shocked us.

More than 85% of 1,110 advisors told us they talk with their clients about how Social Security fits into their retirement plans. That was good.

But when those advisors were asked to rate their knowledge across key Social Security topics—and quizzed on fundamental questions about Social Security—a troubling picture emerged.

In only 1 of 8 categories did more than 50% of the advisors rate their knowledge as "above average" on common Social Security benefits issues!

Advisors admitted they lacked expertise in these seven categories, saying their knowledge was average or worse:
  • How a person accumulates Social Security benefits over their working career…
  • How annual cost-of-living increases are determined…
  • How to do a breakeven analysis to determine if a client should consider delaying benefits…
  • The formula for determining how benefits are taxed…
  • How to estimate lifetime Social Security benefits…
  • How to coordinate spousal benefits for maximum income and protection for the surviving spouse…
  • How to optimize benefits taking into account a client's age, current health status, life expectancy, earned income, taxes, and overall financial goals…
A brief multiple choice quiz we administered to advisors also produced similar dismal results. We asked:

  • How much of a cut in benefits will you take if you apply early instead of the normal retirement age?
  • If you decide to work after starting retirement, how much can you earn before your benefits are reduced?
  • True or false: Once a person reaches full retirement age it is impossible to accumulate higher benefits by working longer and earning more.
  • True or false: If a woman who is receiving benefits under her former spouse's earnings record remarries, she can choose which spouse's record to base her benefits on.
  • Which income sources are included in provisional income to determine if Social Security benefits are taxable?
Again, the results of the quiz were poor. In only two of the six questions above did more than 50% of the polled advisors answer the questions correctly…

Wow. That's a retirement knowledge crisis in my book. And there's more…

The common questions about "When should I apply for Social Security benefits?" is just the opening salvo.

There are plenty of other follow-on questions, such as these:
  1. Can it make sense for a spouse to collect benefits on his/her own work record at age 62 and then switch to a higher spousal benefit at age 66?
  2. Does the fact that the spouse starts collecting benefits on his/her own work record at 62 negatively impact the spousal benefit at age 66?
  3. If a spouse wants to wait to collect benefits at 70, can he collect benefits on his spouse's earnings record before then?
  4. If a married person who is less than full retirement age is collecting SS benefits and is also working, is it only that person's earned income that determines if benefits will be reduced or is it the joint earned income that is compared against the earned income limits?
  5. Can legitimate tax write-offs be used against any Social Security income that is deemed to be taxable?
  6. What if your client was a local government employee, who didn't pay into Social Security, retired early, and now is in a new high-paying career contributing to Social Security?
You can see, it gets complex fairly quickly. After all, clients and employers have been paying into it for years and it's one of the most successful government programs around. And with the coming Boomer retirement crisis, it will be even more important.

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PLEASE NOTE: Your 2016 Social Security materials will ship in January 2016.

Boomers Need Advisors Now-More Than Ever: And What They Need Is a Customized, Break-Even Analysis

So, where do you and your clients start?

It Was A Great Idea

"I explained to a couple that she could take half of her husband's SS for several years, postponing her SS benefit and letting it increase in value 8% per year.

"They didn't know they could do this and thought it was a great idea."

—Lisa Winward, Salt Lake City, UT
What every person needs is a customized, break-even analysis that takes into account their family situation, their life goals, their other resources, and how Social Security fits into their overall retirement plan.

The media can't do that. And the Social Security Administration can't do that, either. You are the only one who can really do that because you know your client.

Everyone wants to know how to get the most out of their Social Security. It's a perfectly natural response, especially when someone actually looks at what they've paid in over the years.

Fair enough. But how do they do it?

Well, lots of people will do it on their own and maintain a life-long pattern of making important investment mistakes because they don't understand the rules and how they apply to their own situation.

But for the advisor who understands the complexities of the system and how to apply them to each client-specific circumstance, their clients will benefit over the remainder of their lifetime by having maximized their monthly Social Security payments.

Simply put, Social Security represents an important opportunity for advisors to provide advice to clients and prospects—regardless of where they sit on the retirement spectrum—on an issue that affects nearly all of them, is very complex, and yet is non-threatening because they are not being "sold" anything.

You don't stand to gain a thing directly. You just want them to have a more secure, comfortable retirement….

For boomers with no advisor—affluent DIYers—Social Security is the question that will bring them into your offices. The advisor who does the bang-up job on this crucial question stands a great chance of becoming the main advisor for all their retirement planning needs.

Helping clients and prospects make the smartest and most informed decision about Social Security may prove to be the key that unlocks the door to the big "IRA rollover" issue.

No advisor should be lacking for deep, up-to-date knowledge of Social Security. That's not a super-tall order, mind you.

Yes, at first blush, the formulas and calculations and consequences of different options seem complicated.

But it's like anything else. You can gain mastery of these topics in a short time and in a way that will help your clients and build your reputation around town as a retirement planning expert.

Here's the Plan to Help You Help Your Clients
(and Their Friends and Family)

When boomer prospects and clients come calling with questions, we don't want you caught behind the curve on this issue.

In fact, we want you to recognize the unique role you play in clients' lives and get ahead of the curve on the important issue of Social Security and retirement income. We want you, or folks on your team, to be the "go-to" person for all your clients, their friends, their colleagues and their family members.

We want you to be able to lead people through a complete and clear understanding of how Social Security works, how it fits into their own retirement needs, and what their options are for when and how to collect benefits.

It's an important leadership position for you and your firm. And the best way we know to do it is through a full client education program on Social Security and its connection to people's retirement income plans.

Introducing "Savvy Social Security Planning For Boomers: A Client Education Program"


Here's how it works.

Elaine Floyd, CFP®, Horsesmouth's Director of Retirement and Life Planning, has created a program for advisors called "Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomers: A Client Education Program."

Program leader

checkmark Your program is led by Elaine Floyd, CFP®, Horsesmouth's Director of Retirement and Life Planning. Elaine is the author of The Financial Advisor's Guide to Savvy Social Security and The Financial Advisor's Guide to Savvy Medicare. She is often quoted in leading publications.

Elaine Floyd

This multi-faceted client education program equips you with the knowledge, tools, resources, calculators and reference material to get you, and then your clients, completely clear about the crucial role their Social Security will play in their retirement.

You'll make "Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomers" a key client-service offering for pre-retirees and their friends and families. The coming retirement wave presents a unique and sustained opportunity for you to extend and enhance your reputation.

By helping confused clients and prospects better understand all their retirement benefit options under Social Security, you'll be giving them "Peace of Mind" as they move toward solving the rest of the retirement income planning puzzle.

Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomers:


FINRA has reviewed the client presentation and client reference material for this program for a Member firm and stated "the material submitted appears consistent with applicable standards." (Reference: FR2008-12-17-0224/H). Like all such client materials, advisors need to consult their own compliance department.

Here are the program elements and a brief description:

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"Savvy Social Security Planning: What Baby Boomers Need to Know to Maximize Retirement Income." This is a customizable client education presentation—licensed to you by Horsesmouth—to give to your clients or prospects. You can deliver it as a workshop or seminar, or in a smaller setting, even one-on-one.

We've written a 22-page script for you to use whenever you deliver this program. You can follow it word for word for word if you like, or customize it to your style to whatever degree you scriptneed. You also get a 45+ slide PowerPoint deck that you can customize for your presentation and use to illustrate the important lessons you'll be conveying to your clients.

Under the Savvy Social Security program license, you can deliver this presentation as many times as you'd like, year after year, with a small annual renewal fee. Following your first year, you'll receive new information each year about changes in Social Security, plus you'll receive updated: slides, script, calculators (download from Savvy Social Security website) and any other aspect of the program that has changed, in addition to more Client Reference handouts (see below).



Now you can expand your reach into these three important niche markets with new client seminar presentations on the importance of Social Security:

Savvy Social Security Planning for CPAs, Attorneys and Other Professionals

What CPAs and Attorneys Need to Know to Advise Their Clients
What CPAs and Attorneys Need to Know to Advise Their Clients
CPAs and attorneys are an advisor's best source of referrals. They work with clients who also need a financial advisor's services, and a recommendation by a trusted professional is as good as gold. You can increase your chances of getting referrals from centers of influence by sharing valuable information that helps them in their business.

Now that Social Security planning is taking center stage among baby boomers, CPAs and attorneys are undoubtedly getting questions from clients about when to claim benefits, how the rules work, and how Social Security fits with the rest of their retirement income plan. You can help them broaden their understanding of Social Security by delivering this one-hour workshop and being on call to serve as an ongoing resource whenever they have questions. Then watch the referrals flow in.

  • The importance of Social Security in a retirement income plan
  • Social Security financing: what's in the trust fund, how long is it expected to last?
  • Understanding the rules for spousal benefits, divorced-spouse benefits, and survivor benefits
  • How to maximize Social Security by coordinating spousal and survivor benefits with a client's own retirement benefit
  • Social Security scenario planning for couples: when should each spouse claim benefits?
  • Strategies for widows and widowers
  • Social Security and taxes
Savvy Social Security Planning for Couples

What Baby Boomer Couples Need to Know to Maximize Retirement Income
What Baby Boomer Couples Need to Know to Maximize Retirement Income
Spousal benefits are one of the least understood aspects of Social Security. The media attention on claiming strategies for married couples is making people aware of such strategies, but it is also causing great confusion, as reporters get the facts wrong or clients misinterpret the rules. We are seeing evidence of this in the questions clients are bringing to their advisors.

"Can I claim my spousal benefit at 62 and switch to my own benefit at 70?"
"Can my spouse and I claim spousal benefits on each other at the same time?"
"Can I stop my benefit and switch to my spousal benefit and then switch back to my own benefit later?"

These are the kinds of questions clients are asking today and they reflect both a desire to maximize benefits and a misunderstanding of the rules.

"Savvy Social Security Planning for Couples" will appeal to two groups of clients and prospects: 1) Couples who are unaware of how much more Social Security income they can receive by understanding and taking advantage of spousal benefits; and 2) Couples who have heard of such strategies but are confused about how they work. This presentation is for all married couples between the ages of 55 and 70.

  • A brief history of Social Security and the introduction of spousal benefits.
  • How spousal benefits work
  • How much more in total Social Security benefits a couple can receive by taking advantage of spousal benefits
  • Why it is crucial to coordinate spousal benefits with each spouse's own retirement benefit
  • Two innovative strategies for maximizing spousal benefits
    • File and suspend
    • Claim now claim more later
  • Rules you must know to avoid making serious mistakes
  • Examples using the new Spousal Planning Calculator
    • Two high-earning spouses
    • One higher-earning spouse and one lower-earning spouse
    • Both spouses have long life expectancy
    • One spouse has long life expectancy, one spouse has short life expectancy
  • How to find the strategy that's right for you
  • How to claim your benefits and communicate with SSA workers so there are no misunderstandings.

Savvy Social Security Planning for Women

Savvy Social Security Planning for Women
Savvy Social Security Planning for Women

Women need Social Security. They may not know that yet, but for women who are afraid of outliving their husbands and their assets, there's nothing better than an inflation-adjusted income stream that lasts for life. In 2010, more than half of older women derived 50% or more of their income from Social Security. Yet most women are not very savvy about Social Security. If they are married to high earners, they often let their husbands take the lead in making Social Security decisions for the couple and those decisions may not be optimal for the longer-lived spouse. If they are divorced or widowed, they may have no idea how they can take advantage of divorced-spouse or survivor benefits and how they can coordinate such benefits with their own retirement benefit.

"Savvy Social Security Planning for Women" shows women how they can maximize Social Security by taking advantage of spousal benefits, survivor benefits, divorced-spouse benefits, and even divorced-spouse survivor benefits. It will open the eyes of baby boomer women who haven't given much thought to Social Security, and may even be the launching pad for finally getting around to addressing their retirement planning needs, including their search for an advisor who can help them with the process. This presentation is suitable for all women including those already on Social Security, as well as younger women who may be helping their parents. Men should be invited too, for they have wives, sisters, and mothers who all need help with Social Security.


  • The rising economic insecurity among women
  • How working longer can help boost your Social Security benefit
  • How spousal benefits work
  • How divorced-spouse benefits work
  • How survivor benefits work
  • How divorced-spouse survivor benefits work
  • How to maximize your benefits if you are:
    • Currently married
    • Remarried after being divorced or widowed
    • Currently divorced
    • Currently widowed
    • Never married
  • How to apply for Social Security
  • How to integrate Social Security into the rest of your retirement income plan

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client handout
Click image to photo of
handout (not to scale).
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Savvy Social Security Client Reference: When clients and prospects walk away from your Savvy Social Security Planning program, they'll have a completely new and informed view of Social Security. For many, it'll be the first time they've realized how important it might be to their retirement future.

While their heads will be filled with new ideas and insights, you also want them to walk out with a useful information resource that sums up the major points of what they've learned and gives them the ability to refer to it in the future as they discuss the issues with family, friends and colleagues.

That's why we've created a 3-panel, 6 sided, 8.5" x 11", laminated reference guide on Savvy Social Security Planning (50 copies). This client reference explains the key concepts everyone must consider when making Social Security decisions—the ones you will have walked your clients through during your presentation.

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Elaine Floyd
Elaine Floyd, CFP®

The Financial Advisor's Guide to Savvy Social Security Planning.  This 175+ page action research report by Elaine Floyd, CFP® is your Social Security bible—yours to keep.

In clear, sharp prose, Elaine Floyd walks you through all the major aspects of smart Social Security planning and equips you with business development insights for how and why to engage clients and prospects around Social Security. This is a one-of-a-kind reference guide that gives you mastery and competence over this important, complicated topic.

Chapter 1: What Financial Advisors Need to Know About Social Security

A Pleasant Surprise

"I had a prospect who couldn't make it to any of my seminars call me with a question. He said he was 66 years old, his wife was 78 and collecting Social Security. He was still working and wanted to know if he could delay his SS benefits until he stopped.

"I informed him that he could continue to work, file for a spousal benefit now, and let his own benefit accrue 8% credits until age 70, when he could switch to this higher benefit.

"He was pleasantly surprised and grateful for the reprive. Without Savvy Social Security, I would not have been as well-versed in that prospect's financial planning options."

— Carl Janasiewicz, Kingston, NY
  • The retirement paradigm shift that caught baby boomers off guard
  • Why baby boomers are turning to financial advisors for help with Social Security
  • Why advisors with Social Security expertise will be in demand
  • 4 reasons why the financial services industry has downplayed Social Security, to its disadvantage.
  • Why now is the time to gain Social Security expertise
  • How Social Security planning can help build your business
  • Why Social Security planning helps you better serve existing clients
  • How Social Security expertise will attract new, unadvised (or poorly advised) baby boomers to your practice
  • 3 key benefits of being a Social Security expert
  • How to position yourself as an expert on Social Security
  • How to write your positioning statement that focuses on Social Security
  • How Social Security planning opens the door to additional products and services
  • The niche potential of being an expert on Social Security
  • Working with centers of influence, such as CPAs and estate-planning attorneys
  • Preparing for clients who are turning 62
  • Understanding why the lifetime value of Social Security is far greater than most people realize
  • Correcting boomer misimpressions about Social Security
  • Why each client's case must be analyzed individually and coordinated with the rest of a client's financial and life plan
  • The reality of Social Security reform and the opportunity it presents to advisors
  • 4 keys to planning your initial consultation

Chapter 2: The Role of Social Security in a Client's Overall Retirement Plan

  • Why clients need your help with Social Security before they can figure out the rest of their retirement income plan
  • Guidelines for developing a retirement income plan
  • What percentage of total retirement income will Social Security represent
  • How does the nature of Social Security income inform the rest of a client's retirement income portfolio
  • Clients' and advisors' main concerns about Social Security
  • Setting insolvency fears aside and understanding the program as it exists today
  • 4 key points on why replacement ratios oversimplify the retirement income planning process
  • 8 crucial items to consider when determining retirement income needs
  • 4 risks that will increase spending needs in retirement
  • The four-legged retirement stool
  • Why planning for the longest life expectancy makes sense
  • Annuity income versus lump sum: common misperceptions
  • Why the annuity is worth more than a lump sum for half of all people
  • 4 key decisions clients need to make at the onset of retirement

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Chapter 3: How Social Security Works

  • Social Security is not a giant pyramid scheme; find out the crucial element that makes it work through the generations.
  • Understanding the math: How a high-earning client could contribute $230K over a lifetime and possibly collect $1.7 million in benefits.
  • Why it's important for clients to understand the essential nature of Social Security regarding current benefits and current contributions.
  • How to determine basic eligibility
  • How wages are indexed for inflation
  • How benefits are calculated based on a formula that takes into account the highest-earning 35 years
  • What the "drop out years" are (hint: they have nothing to do with the hippie movement).
  • Computing the primary insurance amount (PIA)
  • Why the PIA isn't the actual amount people receive. How to compute the actual benefit from the PIA
  • Maximizing benefits: The key objective of Social Security planning.
  • The compounding effect of COLAs on the PIA
  • Warning: The monthly benefit may be higher or lower than the PIA depending on when a person applies.
  • Why taking benefits immediately upon attaining eligibility is not always a good idea
  • Understanding the reduction in benefits for baby boomers born between 1946 and 1954
  • Spousal benefits: One of the most unappreciated aspects of Social Security.
  • What happens if a spouse lacks a 35-year earnings history
  • 10 key points about spousal benefits
  • 4 tests for receiving spousal benefits when you're divorced
  • How working affects benefits
  • What happens to withheld benefits for retirees who work
  • How to avoid "cash-flow shock" from withheld benefits
  • How to handle "special payments" for work done prior to receiving Social Security
  • Why benefit reductions due to the earnings test are not truly lost
  • How COLAs affect benefits
  • Who is affected by the Windfall Eliminations Provision—Help clients avoid a rude awakening.

Chapter 4: Boosting Benefits by Increasing Current Earnings

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  • What everyone needs to know about getting the highest Social Security benefits
  • 3 groups of clients who especially need to hear about how to boost benefits
  • Why under-saved boomers need to understand how Social Security benefits are computed
  • What the Social Security wage base means for younger clients and the huge effects slightly higher earnings have on Social Security benefits
  • Warning: Women who took time out of the work force to raise children may have set themselves up for dramatically lower benefits. Here's how to fix it.
  • Why some women need to focus on improving their earnings now in order to substantially increase their retirement income
  • What clients who work during retirement need to know about how and when their annual benefits are recomputed
  • Watch out: Self-employed clients who incorporate their small businesses in order to avoid paying the high SE tax may be setting themselves up for drastically lower benefits in retirement. Find out how to properly analyze their situation.

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Chapter 5: When to Apply: Strategies for Maximizing Lifetime Benefits

Changed My Clients' Lives

"A client who had been married twice was unaware that she could receive spousal benefits on her first husband. This knowledge helped her plan a better retirement since her SS benefits were less than half of his.

"Another divorcee who was dating someone on a small SS benefit, did not realize that she could file for a spousal benefit on her ex if she remained unmarried.

"The information I was able to provide ended up changing their lives."

—Timothy C. Ebert, Winston-Salem, NC
  • How delaying the onset of Social Security results in a higher benefit for life
  • Factors to consider when deciding when to apply for Social Security
  • Key elements of personalized, customized, breakeven analysis
  • Plus, simple breakeven analyses samples that help clients easily grasp the concept
  • Why considering spending needs is a more realistic way to analyze the breakeven issue
  • Calculating a client's breakeven age if benefits are spent
  • Calculating the breakeven age if benefits are invested
  • Special advice for married couples
  • The importance of incorporating annual COLAs into your breakeven analysis
  • The truth about early retirement: Why the early eligibility age was lowered to 62 and what it means for the average retiree
  • How the "wealth effect" has been influencing early retirement decisions and why it should be replaced with the "breakeven effect"
  • Warning: Irrational fears and bad information may be driving people to choose early retirement. What they need from their advisors is a rational "breakeven" analysis of their options
  • 4 key factors to review when conducting a breakeven analysis
  • Why baby boomers between 62-65 should take the "earnings test" before deciding to file for early benefits
  • Longevity and the COLA compounding effect
  • Why married couples need to carefully coordinate their decisions about when to file for benefits
  • How long does a client have to live to make it worth delaying benefits?
  • Common wisdom is that you should retire at 62 to take early benefits and delay drawing down personal assets, right? Wrong! Find out why.
  • Taking early retirement and turning Social Security benefits into an investment program for wealthy clients only makes sense under certain expected outcomes
  • What to consider if a client is considering taking early benefits in order to leave assets invested
  • Once you start receiving early benefits, you're stuck forever at the lower benefit, right? Wrong! It is possible to reverse your decision. See the details.

Chapter 6: Coordinating Spousal Benefits

  • Understanding the challenge of coordinating benefits for couples.
  • Maximizing benefits for the survivor, who may live 20, 30, or 40 more years
  • Understanding the unique rules for spouses
  • Estimating benefits for each spouse
  • Determining when the husband and the wife should each apply for their respective benefits
  • What happens when one spouse dies
  • How survivor benefits affect decisions that must be made now
  • What happens when a surviving spouse remarries
  • Why spousal benefits may play a bigger role for the clients of financial advisors than for the average low- to moderate-earning couple
  • Why you must know the rules for spousal benefits and become familiar with strategies for maximizing spousal and survivor benefits
  • Did you know that spousal benefits are not restricted to the low-earning spouse? Even a high-earning spouse planning to retire at 70 can apply for his or her spousal benefit at 66.
  • Common strategies for coordinating benefits for spouses
  • Warning: When a person applies before full retirement age, the actuarial reduction will apply even if the person switches over to a different benefit later (spousal benefit to earned benefit or vice versa). Understand why.
  • Understand the playoff between filing for a reduced spousal benefit versus applying for one's own reduced benefit versus waiting and filing for full benefits
  • Did you know: If a husband wants to earn delayed credits, he can file for benefits at FRA but request that they be suspended until he turns 70?
  • Why it never pays to apply for a spousal benefit after FRA
  • Why a high-earning husband with a shorter life expectancy should delay claiming benefits until age 70
  • Key: Remember that for married couples the life expectancy of the second spouse to die is what counts in planning
  • Learn how "file and suspend" works
  • How to respond to Social Security personnel who are not familiar with file and suspend
  • Three key choices the lower-earning spouse faces
  • How to coordinate benefits when spouses are different ages
  • How to compare optimal benefits when spouses are more than 10 years apart in age
  • How to plan for a possible gap in survivor benefits

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Chapter 7: Women and Social Security

25,000 Paid Retroactively—Thanks!

"I love the materials that you have put together on Social Security.  I recently had a visit with my father and stepmother in Florida and we talked about Social Security planning.

"After educating them on their rights, my stepmother called the local Social Security office and told them that her spousal benefit was incorrect. They have subsequently received a check for over $25,000 for a retroactive correction of her spousal benefit. Thanks."

—Gwen Vogt, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
  • The triple whammy many women face in retirement
  • Why singling out women for Social Security planning is important
  • Why women really need Social Security planning—and why men should care
  • How Social Security benefits women
  • What all women need to know about Social Security
  • How a husband's decisions affect a woman's Social Security benefits
  • How to claim benefits from a divorced spouse
  • How remarriage affects benefits
  • What women can do now to increase their Social Security benefits
  • Essential Social Security planning for women of all ages
  • Why Social Security planning inspires people to do comprehensive survivor planning, including insurance, investments, and estate planning
  • Which is greater: earned benefit or spousal benefit?
  • 4 key questions to answer when projecting benefits
  • 6 possible scenarios to consider
  • Understanding the rules for earned benefits, spousal benefits, divorced-spouse benefits and survivor benefits.
  • What if you divorce in retirement
  • Why it is important to report all marital events to Social Security

Chapter 8: Taxes on Social Security Benefits

  • How taxes on Social Security benefits are calculated
  • The impact of these additional taxes on a client's effective tax rate
  • How taxes drive decisions on how much other income a client may choose to receive
  • Which types of income are exempt from the formula
  • How to plan ahead for IRA required minimum distributions at age 70-1/2
  • Clear disincentives not to earn more income in retirement
  • The marginal tax rate red zone
  • Avoiding excess tax: One more reason why it may pay to delay Social Security benefits.
  • Tax considerations for clients who plan to work in their 60s
  • Tax issues for clients who plan to retire before age 70
  • 6 keys for coordinating income and spending needs
  • Reduction in benefits vs. taxation of benefits: helping clients understand the difference.

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Chapter 9: Other Social Security Programs

  • Dependents' benefits: Why Donald Trump's toddler son could even receive Social Security.
  • Understanding the maximum family benefit (MFB)
  • How the MFB is computed
  • Why you must always ask about grandchildren
  • How the earnings test applies to dependents' and survivors' benefits
  • Remember: Taxation applies to dependents' and survivors' benefits.
  • How a person becomes eligible for disability benefits
  • Social Security's strict definition of disability
  • Understanding the lag time before benefits begin
  • 3 key planning issues
  • Supplemental Social Security Income: Rules for qualifying.

Chapter 10: Medicare and Long-Term Care

  • Why every client will need a crash course in Medicare sometime before turning 65
  • Warning: If clients don't apply for Medicare in a timely manner, penalties will be applied to future Part B premiums.
  • Understanding the alphabet soup that is Medicare: Parts A, B, C, and D
  • The 3 most important things to understand about Medicare
  • How Medigap policies work
  • Medicare and the long-term care myth
  • Options for long-term care
  • What to consider when choosing a long-term care policy
  • 9 key points to consider when choosing policy features
  • Ways to protect against inflation in long-term care costs
  • How Social Security planning integrates with Medicare and long-term care
  • Warning: One of the most important services an advisor can provide to baby boomers is to help them avoid penalties and gaps in health care coverage by enrolling in a timely manner.

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Know What You're Talking About, And You Can Help A Lot Of People

"A true story from my own life: while still employed, I took my 62 year old non-working wife to the Social Security office to begin her benefit only to learn that since she did not have her own 40 quarters she would have to wait until I retired.

"Three years later I went to get my wife on Medicare and was told (erroneously) that a) she had to wait for me to retire and/or start my own Medicare and b) she would have to be covered by a true group health plan for two years while waiting, forcing me to purchase a $1100 per month Blue Cross Group to replace my $400+ per month individual health plan." When the "error" was discovered, it was impossible to make retroactive changes.

"Conclusion: know what you're talking about, and you can help a lot of people."

—Victor Gadoury, Stilwell, KS

Chapter 11: Mechanics of the Social Security Program

  • How and when to apply for Social Security benefits
  • Know the exact month and day people should apply in order for benefits to start
  • How and when checks are received: automatic deposits make it easy.
  • 27 questions clients will need to answer when applying in person or online
  • Documents clients will need to produce at the time of application
  • When applying in person is productive
  • What every widow needs to do when a spouse dies
  • What every widow should consider before applying for survivor benefits
  • What survivors need to bring to the Social Security office
  • Warning: Errors are not uncommon in computing benefits. Overages will be collected at a later date.
  • What to do with Social Security payments made to a deceased spouse. Warning: Benefits may be stopped for up to 24 months for intentional, false statements
  • What to do when changing bank accounts and redirecting direct deposit.
  • Watch out: Marrying and divorcing while receiving benefits can change calculations.
  • Death of a beneficiary and what to do about payments received after death
  • How benefits are withheld if a client earns more than the earning test amount
  • What type of income counts toward the earnings test
  • Why self-employed people who retire will be scrutinized to make sure they are not just reporting a lower salary while still working or receiving other compensation
  • Figuring out taxes and Social Security
  • How to get taxes withheld
  • How to appeal a decision
  • The four levels of appeal
  • Special rules for clients living outside the U.S.

Chapter 12: History and Financing of the Social Security System

  • Understanding the Social Security trust fund
  • The difference between the Social Security trust fund and the assets of the U.S. government
  • The future of Social Security
  • Understanding how the Social Security trustees make 75-year projections
  • When expenses exceed revenue: what really happens
  • Three ways the actuarial balance is expressed
  • Building sufficient trust fund reserve
  • Explaining the actuarial balance
  • Why immediate cash infusions aren't required
  • The history of the actuarial deficit: why Congress doesn't always need to act immediately
  • 14 ways Social Security could be reformed in the future
  • How Social Security reform is likely to affect baby boomers approaching retirement
  • How to incorporate possible Social Security reform into your long-term planning with clients

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PLEASE NOTE: Your 2016 Social Security materials will ship in January 2016.


135 Social Security Questions Answered:
What Savvy Advisors Need to Know

Every day Elaine Floyd spends time researching and answering tricky, perplexing, contradictory and generally vexing Social Security questions.  It's the nature of the topic…

In case you didn't know, Elaine's the leading, independent expert on Social Security payout questions.  Even the Wall Street Journal turns to her for answers…

Now she's edited and sorted a year's worth of the best questions. And they're available to you now to boost your Social Security mastery.

Here's the overview of what's covered and some questions to give you an idea of what you'll find.

  • When to apply - questions 1 - 9
  • How working affects benefits - questions 10 - 24
  • Spousal benefits - questions 25 - 70
  • Survivor benefits - questions 71 - 95
  • Divorced-spouse benefits - questions 96 - 117
  • Taxation of benefits - questions 118 - 123
  • Miscellany - questions 124 - 135

Here's a peek at some of what's addressed in this new report:

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social security questions answered
Answers to real-life questions…

When to Apply

The most fundamental question facing baby boomers is when to apply for benefits. It's not 65 anymore. Full retirement age for boomers is 66.

But Social Security benefits may be claimed anytime between the ages of 62 and 70. It is crucial for boomers to understand how claiming early benefits will reduce their benefit (for life) and delaying benefits will increase it. Most advisors understand this, so most of the questions here relate to the "repay and reapply" strategy (also known as the "do-over"), and other miscellany…

Among the questions answered are:

  • I presented a seminar last evening and have a question relating to disability. The wife has been disabled since age 50, not sure of current age, but the husband worked to age 68 and will be turning 70 this year. He has not yet applied for benefits. His wife is getting $618 per month. When he applies for his benefit at age 70, can she receive or substitute the DI benefit for the spousal benefit if larger? The husband was a government employee so he was aware of the offset. Any suggestions?—David P.
  • When a parent is age 62 or older and begins collecting Social Security and still has minor age children, do they receive any benefits at that time? Does the adult have to file for and receive Social Security for the benefits to start?—John F.
  • We may have run across a client who never applied for Social Security and is 80 years old. He owns a successful business and didn't "need" the extra cash.  We are still gathering facts. Can he apply for retroactive benefits? If he applies now, will his benefit include an adjustment to make up for the lost $$$?  Does he simply lose those benefits not taken since age 70?
  • Is it possible to do a "do-over" for both survivor benefits and spousal benefits?—Toby G.

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How Working Affects Benefits

"What if I keep working?" is the most commonly asked question by clients today. Everyone knows there is some rule about Social Security benefits being withheld if they work, but many clients are unclear about the details. The basic earnings test is pretty straightforward—for anyone under full retirement age (FRA), $1 in benefits is withheld for every $2 earned over $14,160 in 2009 and 2011—but as with anything related to Social Security, there's more to it than that.

One area of confusion relates to the re-computation of benefits at FRA…

Among the questions answered are:

Invaluable Training

"I have found that a good percentage of clients plan to take SS early as possible.

"This comes without any awareness or thought given to some of the consequences and effects on beneficiaries that may have.

"My training has helped me assess my clients overall financial and family situation and advise them if taking SS early is the best way to go. Consequently, I have changed some of my clients' plans to take SS early as a result. In many cases this has a significant effect on their financial status."

— Alfred Kulig, Kettering, OH
  • Client is age 62-1/2. Retires July 2009 and begins receiving Social Security benefits August 2009. Opportunity comes along for independent contractor employment from former employer. Monthly independent contractor income will be about $2,200 a month for remainder of year (4 months). Will Social Security benefits be reduced because monthly income (self-employment) will be greater than $1,180/month ($14,160 / 12 months)? Isn't the yearly maximum broken down to a monthly maximum?—Linda
  • Just to confirm, after a beneficiary has reached FRA, the benefits will no longer be subject to reduction due to other income, but the benefits will forever be subject to taxation, even into their 90s.—Andrew
  • If someone reaches FRA and takes SS but is still working and makes a lot of money, can their present earnings increase their benefit in the future, or is the benefit frozen once they start taking SS?—Debra
  • I have a couple, both age 62, where the husband plans to continue to work, possibly to age 70. The wife is considering going ahead and taking her Social Security reduced benefit now. If she does so, does the income limit before benefits are reduced apply to just her income, or to their joint income since they file jointly? What other considerations do we need to pay attention to?—Kevin J.
  • Is non-passive income from an S corp considered earned income for SS taxation between age 62-66?—Michael
  • I have a couple who received conflicting advice from Social Security (two different answers on two different visits) and they came to me for "the right answer." The issue is interpretation of the working spouse drawing her benefits at age 62 (husband continues to work until NRA and they're the same birth year) and taxation of those benefits because they file jointly and there is earned income pushing them over the earnings threshold.

    One SS worker told them that she should wait because her benefits would be subject to the earning test because they file jointly. She'd receive the benefit but it would be reduced 3 to 1. Another SS worker told them earning test only applies by Social Security number and the joint filing doesn't matter. They don't know which to believe and are hesitant to file until they know which is correct. I can't find a definitive answer to this issue on SS website. Which one is correct?—Larry F.

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Spousal Planning

social security questions answered
Answers to real-life questions…

By far, the most complex area of Social Security planning is spousal planning. The vast majority of questions that come to us have to do with this complicated area of Social Security planning…

Among the questions answered are:

  • If the primary worker's benefit at FRA is $2,000, the spousal benefit would be $1,000. If the primary worker delays benefits until age 70 and his benefit is $2,600, would the spousal benefit be $1,300? Or does it top out at $1,000, which is half of FRA?—Andy U.
  • The more I deal with Social Security, the more I realize there is to understand. Can I assume a wife can take a spousal benefit at 62 if it is higher than her own benefit and then switch to her own benefit at any time after her FRA if her own benefit is higher at that point? Is the alternative also possible whereby she takes her work benefit at 62 (because it's higher) and then changes to a spousal benefit sometime after FRA if the latter benefit is higher? I guess the key thing you're telling me is that a spouse will receive the higher of either her spousal or her own benefit before FRA, and if she starts her own benefit early, she is stuck with that unless her spousal benefit at some time becomes higher.—John G.
  • Let's say a wife starts to collect on her husband's Social Security at age 62. He applies for his benefit but doesn't actually take it. He starts receiving his benefit at 66. When he passes away, does she jump up to the amount he is receiving, or will she always get a little bit less because she started collecting early at 62?—Joe C.
  • If the wife is 66 and the husband is 65, can the wife apply for spousal benefits on the husband's record? Can he file and suspend in order for his wife to receive spousal benefits at her age 66 or does she need to wait until her age 67 and his age 66?—Ron C.
  • I recently called the Social Security office to inquire about drawing my spousal benefits after I turn 66 in September of this year. My wife is 70 and has already filed for her retirement benefit based on her work record. It is my intention to file and suspend and draw spousal benefits based on her work record. The person I talked to at the Social Security office was familiar with the file-and-suspend procedure but stated that my wife had to be age 66 (FRA) before I could file for spousal benefits on her work record. Is it time to ask to speak to a Title 2 Technical expert or a Title 2 Claims representative?—Sam K.
  • Can file-and-suspend be used by the lower-earning spouse to enable the higher-earning and older spouse to get extra benefits? For example, the higher-earning husband is 66 and will work to 70. The lower-earning wife is 62 and will work to 66. Can the lower-earning wife file-and-suspend and the higher-earning husband take four years of spousal benefits without impacting his own benefit at age 70?—John E.
  • If a person was a teacher before retirement, and covered by a state teachers retirement plan, she is not eligible for Social Security. Does that regulation apply for spousal benefits as well?

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Survivor Benefits

Survivor benefits are one of the most valuable and important aspects of Social Security. It has been estimated that the average survivor benefit is equivalent to a life insurance policy with a face value of $433,000. Maximizing the survivor benefit is a crucial aspect of Social Security planning for married couples, and it is important to stress to clients that the amount that stands to be paid far in the future depends on decisions made today….

Among the questions answered are:

The Competitive Edge

"Knowledge regarding Social Security definitely creates an impression on prospects and differentiates me from other advisors. I have heard the comment 'My other advisor doesn't have a clue about this stuff; I wonder what else he doesn't know?'"

— David Gentry, Richmond, VA
  • If a wife takes her retirement benefit before FRA, does that reduce her survivor benefit if he delays his benefit to 70?—Alan
  • A wife works and gets a small Social Security benefit. Her husband is retiring from the government as a CSRS employee. When he dies, she will get his government pension survivor benefits. Will that reduce her SS benefit?—Steve R.
  • I was hoping you might be able to help me with a situation I have with a client. She's 62 and works full time. Her husband passed away and she is entitled to his benefit, which is lower than her expected benefits. My question is this: Even though she's working and would be penalized for receiving Social Security, doesn't it still make sense to obtain the benefit from her deceased husband? Doesn't that benefit go away once she reaches her full retirement age?—Peter S.
  • Widows/widowers who do not remarry are entitled to survivor benefits at age 60, but SS does not remind them or clearly spell this out on the website. Benefits not applied for on time are lost. Must be a common oversight saving the system lots of money. Thoughts?—Bill
  • In a "file-and-suspend" where the non-earning spouse takes her spousal benefit and higher earning spouse dies before filing at age 70, what will survivor benefit be based on?—Rick
social security questions answered
Answers to real-life questions…

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Divorced-Spouse Benefits

Financial advisors are going to have to start prying into their clients' marital histories. Why? Because it may not even occur to clients who have been divorced for many years that they could be entitled to divorced-spouse benefits or divorced-spouse survivor benefits. When clients apply for Social Security, they will be asked about previous marriages…

Among the questions answered are:

  • If a divorced spouse starts drawing SS based on the ex-spouse's earnings, does this reduce the ex-spouse's benefit?—Steve
  • Does a former spouse drawing benefits on an ex-husband's PIA affect his current spouse's benefit? —Anonymous
  • A divorcee age 65 plans to wait until age 70 to collect SS benefits. Her former husband is 67. He is still working and she has no way of knowing if he is collecting on his SS benefits. Can she receive a spousal benefit now? Will it interfere with her future SS benefit at 70?—John
  • If a woman is divorced and has remarried, how is the PIA determined? Is it based on the second husband's income history, or a combination of the first husband and second husband's income history? Does the wife have the option to choose between the two?—Paul
  • I have lots of questions regarding applying for benefits post divorce. Here are a few that puzzle me. The situation: Wife is 62, ex-husband is 65. Divorce is final 12/1/09. 2 years after final decree would be 12/01/11. At that time the unmarried wife will be 70 and the ex-husband will be 67. He is still working and doesn't plan to collect benefits until age 70. Wife's full benefit at age 66 is $1651. Ex-husband's full benefit at age 66 is $2,341. Can the wife apply for her benefits now (getting only 75%) and wait to apply for her divorced-spouse benefit until her husband applies? Or does applying for hers now automatically lock in the % of what she could get from his benefits?—Debbie
  • If my divorced client waits until FRA to take her divorced-spouse benefits but her ex-husband claims his benefit at 62, is she forever locked into 50% of his reduced benefit? She's a teacher making about $40,000 a year. —William D.

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Able To Make A Difference

"I have helped several widows who have lost their husbands at a relatively young age, and had either forgotten or simply did not know they could be eligible for the spousal benefits.

"This has occurred multiple times.

"It is disheartening to realize how many struggling beneficiaries are unaware of their options. In this case, thanks to Elaine's program, I was able to make a difference."

— Philip Rongo, Lebanon, NJ

Taxation of Benefits

Taxation of benefits comes into play when you are putting together an overall retirement income plan that includes other sources of income. Most clients of financial advisors will need to be concerned about taxation of Social Security benefits, since the income thresholds are so low. Many clients will simply have to resign themselves to having 50% or 85% of their Social Security benefits subject to federal income tax. Still, Savvy Social Security planning would call for some degree of taxation analysis, especially if clients' income is at or near the threshold…

Among the questions answered are:

  • If the client goes over the threshold for taxation, are they taxed on the very first dollar of benefits received?—Josh
  • I truly enjoyed your presentation on Social Security! We have a client that is currently 63 and collecting unemployment income, severance pay until 8/31/09, and then would be eligible to collect her pension as well as receive a lump sum in September 2009. Her FRA is 66. I realize that you would need much more information to advise when the client should begin Social Security however I was hoping you could confirm what income is counted toward the maximum earnings in relation to taxation. This is an excerpt from the Social Security website: We do not count income such as other government benefits, investment earnings, interest, pensions, annuities and capital gains—Jackie
  • If you take a distribution from a Roth IRA is the distribution included to calculate the taxability of Social Security?—Barbara
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Among the questions answered are:

  • Are COLAs higher the longer you wait to start SS?—Mark
  • Many of my clients will receive PERA benefits and this, I hear, reduces SS benefits. Is there a formula I can use in planning with these clients?—Carol
  • If you take SS early, do they prorate the amount by month (62 and 3 months) or just by year (62, 63, etc.)?—Luella
  • If an individual wants to reimburse Social Security for the benefits he's received in order to restart his benefit at his current age, is he also responsible for repaying benefits received by a dependent under his Social Security number?—Laurie
  • What can be done if people are already taking SS benefits? Can they still be helped?—Bob


Savvy Social Security Calculators (Download from Savvy Social Security website): Elaine Floyd has developed four proprietary calculators for you to use in your group presentations—but also more importantly in one-on-one meetings. The calculators provide important flexibility and insight into Social Security planning scenarios on four special topics: Simple Breakeven, Retirement Spending, Reinvest Breakeven, and Spousal Planning
    planning calculator
  • Simple Breakeven Calculator—This basic calculator helps you advise clients on when to apply for Social Security benefits. It allows you to run two scenarios—apply earlier and receive a smaller amount, or apply later and receive a larger amount. The calculator shows the age the client must live beyond in order for delayed benefits to produce a higher cumulative amount. This calculator is designed for simplicity and does not take into account investment returns if benefits are invested.
  • Retirement Spending Breakeven Calculator—This calculator assumes the client has personal assets in addition to Social Security. If the client retires sometime between the ages of 62 and 70, should he apply for Social Security immediately and leave the personal assets invested, or should he draw from the personal assets first and wait to apply for Social Security in order to build delayed credits? A year-by-year run shows how much of each year's spending need is met by personal assets vs. Social Security. The objective is to determine which strategy (early or later filing) requires the least amount to be drawn from personal assets to meet the same spending need.
  • Future Benefits Review Led to New Client

    "I have enjoyed the Social Security program and calculators very much. Although I am still learning and educating myself on the many rules, I attribute a recent close of a new prospective client to reviewing their future benefits of their PIA from your calculator to the close. Thank you."

    —Walt Powrozek, Novi, MI
    Reinvest Breakeven Calculator—This calculator is designed for high-income clients who will not need Social Security to meet living expenses. If their intent is to invest their monthly benefits, should they apply early and get those benefits invested as soon as possible, or should they delay their application in order to receive a higher benefit? At varying return assumptions, the calculator shows the year-by-year results and cumulative totals so you can see the crossover point, or breakeven age, at which delaying benefits produces the higher total amount.
  • Spousal Planning Calculator—One of the most challenging aspects of Social Security planning is coordinating spousal benefits, especially when the spouses are of different ages. This simple calculator allows you to enter each spouse's age and respective benefit amount, along with the projected COLA, and see a year-by-year run of the couple's combined benefits and the cumulative total. Five identical worksheets allow you to try out several scenarios (wife applies at 62, husband applies at 66; wife applies at 66, husband applies at 70; and so on), so you can see what their combined benefit would be in 2015, 2016, 2017, etc.
marketing materials
New Marketing Materials


Marketing Kit for Social Security Planning for Boomers: Now it's even easier to promote your client education workshops with these workshop descriptions, brochures, posters, invitations, and press releases.

NEW! Post a promotional video on your website!

Put a 90 second video on your website to promote your next workshop or seminar. Simply embed the video onto your website and customize the time, date, location and RSVP fields.


Savvy Social Security Planning: What Baby Boomers Need to Know to Maximize Retirement Income

These questions will be asked by thousands of baby boomers every day for years to come…
  • When should I apply for Social Security?
  • What if I divorce or marry?
  • How much more will I collect if I wait?
Join us for an informative workshop where you'll learn not only the rules of Social Security but how to use them to maximize your benefits.

Date: March 14, 2015

Time: 4:00 pm-5:00pm

Location: Community Center, 123 Main Street, Greenville, NY 10018

RSVP: Please call 1-888-346-8760 or email

We'll see you there!

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PLEASE NOTE: Your 2016 Social Security materials will ship in January 2016.

Your Path to Greater Expertise in 2015

In a perfect world, your clients wouldn't be confused or concerned about Social Security.

The Best Story Is My Own

"Probably the best story is my own. Until going through your program, I was pretty much convinced that I would take SS benefits this year, but after going through scenarios based on my and my wife's (who is 6 years younger) benefits it became clear to me that waiting as long as possible is the wisest move.

"Our combined SS income could reach over 80K a year. And her survivor benefit increases more than 50%."

—John Tarr, Madison, Mississippi
They could just schedule an appointment at the local Social Security office and then pad on down there to easily resolve any questions or issues.

But it's not that easy or simple. First, Social Security is the epitome of a large, unwieldy—some would say unresponsive—government bureaucracy.

Second, Social Security should not be viewed in isolation. The hard issue of retirement income replacement needs to be analyzed in a highly personalized, one-on-one manner, one that takes into account all of a person's sources of retirement income. Social Security can't and won't do that.

Third, your clients will crave "Peace of Mind" regarding their retirement. Having received a personalized, break-even analysis of their Social Security decision will go a long way toward engendering that warm, positive feeling clients seek.

Putting aside do-it-yourselfers, people are going to need and seek out advice on this crucial issue. Financial advisors are the professionals best positioned and equipped to address these issues for clients and prospects.

That's why I urge you to become a Subscriber to Savvy Social Security Planning For Boomers. Here are five key points I'd like you to consider.

5 Reasons Why You Need Savvy Social
Security Planning for Boomers

1) You Need to Master the Social Security Debate Issues. Over the coming months and years, Social Security will gain increased prominence as an issue that transcends politics and takes root as a key, nitty-gritty issue among many of your clients.

You'll be called upon to express a knowledgeable and considered opinion on this key aspect of retirement income replacement. It's no longer viable—indeed, probably unwise—to subscribe to the notion that Social Security is "broke" or won't be there for clients. The " Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomers" program will help you achieve and maintain mastery over this crucial client retirement issue.

2) Your Clients Need Help. When you lead your clients through the Savvy Social Security Planning program, both of you are accomplishing important goals. Your clients will have experienced a real sense of accomplishment in reviewing their Social Security earnings record, analyzing their potential benefit options, and seeing how the replacement income fits with their other resources. More than nearly all client events, knowing and understanding how Social Security works and fits into their lives will be concrete, real-life information.

For you, the advisor, the activity of leading people through the program confers "expertise by action." You'll be demonstrating your professionalism, showing people the value you add to the advisory relationship, again, in a real-life scenario. It's a client event with an important outcome.

3) It's a Retirement Income Opener. Social Security, of course, is just one piece of the retirement income puzzle. By getting clients and prospects into a meeting or event to look at their personal situation with Social Security, they're also getting a real-world view of the total retirement income picture. It all seems a lot more real and a lot less abstract and theoretical. While focusing on the "income replacement" aspect of Social Security, it naturally begs the question of what specifically the other pieces of their retirement income puzzle will be?

A Great Way To Arouse Interest In Prospective Clients

"I have been impressed with the quality of material from Horsesmouth. As a Financial Planner focusing on the 50+ crowd, presenting Social Security information effectively is important. This is a great way to garner interest from potential clients."

—Ora Citron, Alamo, CA
The demonstration of your high interest and expertise in the Social Security issue—and your position as the person who has solutions to common retirement income problems—means, naturally, that people will see you as a good person to turn to and recommend to others for the bigger retirement income issues, as well.

4) It Will Elevate Your Position Within Your Community. When you present the " Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomers" event in your community—either among your networks of clients and their friends and family, or more widely in your area—you'll actually be doing a public service. People need this information. They want to know more about the program that they've contributed to through every paycheck they've ever received throughout their entire lives. And they're not going to find anywhere else—either online or at the local Social Security office—the kind of information that you'll be giving them with the Savvy Social Security program.

Your status and reputation within your community will be enhanced through your delivery and mastery over the Savvy Social Security information.  People will be gratified and appreciative that you've taken the time to learn this issue and make available to them the opportunities to learn more.

5) You're the Expert. Stay That Way. We already know that operational Social Security knowledge is fairly low among advisors. Many indicated they want to learn more because they see it as a real need—they've had questions over the years and answered them, perhaps, in fits and starts, not with the kind of confidence they'd prefer and that people should expect from a financial professional. By committing to the Savvy Social Security Planning program, you're covering yourself on an important topic.

As long as you remain in this business, people will have questions about this topic and your wisdom and insight will be sought for that reason. There is no better way to ensure that you achieve a high level of understanding about the key Social Security issues your clients and prospects face than by participating in the Savvy Social Security program. Year in and year out you'll be buoyed and supported by this unique Horsesmouth program as you guide clients and prospects through this thorny first step of planning their retirement.
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PLEASE NOTE: Your 2016 Social Security materials will ship in January 2016.

Add Savvy Social Security to Your Client Education Program: Become a Subscriber Today and Save $2,521. This is a one-time offer. Don't miss it.

Enhance your expertise today by putting Savvy Social Security Planning into your client education program right now. You'll be happy you did. When you become a subscriber, you'll be licensed to use the Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomer program with all your clients and prospects for a whole year.


FINRA has reviewed the client presentation and client reference material for this program for a Member firm and stated "the material submitted appears consistent with applicable standards." (Reference: FR2008-12-17-0224/H). Like all such client materials, advisors need to consult their own compliance department.

Remember, this is what you get with your "Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomers: A Client Education Program"

  • Savvy Social Security Planning: What Baby Boomers Need to Know to Maximize Retirement Income Presentation: a 30-45 minute customizable presentation including 45+ Powerpoint slides and 20+ page script that gives you total command of topic.


  • Savvy Social Security Planning for CPAs, Attorneys and Other Professionals
  • Savvy Social Security Planning for Couples
  • Savvy Social Security Planning for Women


  • Savvy Social Security Client Reference:  Send clients and prospects home with this easy-to-understand 3-panel, laminated reference.
Another Tool in Advising Clients on Income Planning

"A 60-year-old prospect came to the office because his 73-year-old wife had just been diagnosed with cancer. He wanted to retire so he could stay home with her. He wanted us to develop an income plan which included his savings, her Social Security, his company pension and what he could expect at ages 62, 66 and 70 from his Social Security. The analysis showed he could retire immediately, wait until age 70 to maximize his Social Security and have enough income until then from annuitizing two of his annuities.

"Knowledge of Social Security provides another tool in advising clients on income planning."


  • The Financial Advisor's Guide to Savvy Social Security Planning:  175+ page report is your complete reference that shows you how to answer nearly any Social Security question your clients may have.


  • 135 Social Security Questions Answered: What Savvy Advisors Need to Know: 75-page report gives you specific questions to real-life, difficult questions you and your clients will encounter.
  • Savvy Social Security Calculators (Download from Savvy Social Security website):  Simple Breakeven, Retirement Spending, Reinvest Breakeven, and Spousal Planning


  • Brochures, posters, invitations and press release templates


  • website gives you instant access to all the program's materials, plus easy access to asking questions.


  • Special, occasional webinars and bi-weekly newsletter help you stay abreast of new developments in Social Security and stay informed about tricky case filing issues.


  • Take our 90-question online exam and answer 60 correctly to qualify for 12 CFP Continuing Education Credits.


  • Get anytime access to 6 valuable, up-to-the-minute article reprints (PDF) to send to clients, prospects and COIs. You get:
    • When to Apply for Social Security Benefits
    • Social Security as Longevity Insurance
    • Life Expectancy and Social Security
    • Will Working Longer Help—or Hinder—Your Social Security Benefit?
    • How Cost-of-Living- Adjustments Affect Social Security Benefits
    • Creative Social Security Claiming Strategies: Understanding the Nuances

    Brand these article reprints with your contact information, photo and logo to create a client touch that's both instructive and memorable. Post to your website, email newsletter, and social media. Or get them printed and mail them in a drip marketing campaign!

A complete client education program like this is typically priced anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000. If you hired a marketing consultant and Social Security expert to pull it together for you, you'd pay $10,000 to $15,000 and you'd never be totally certain that what you were saying and doing is the right approach. That's not what we have in mind for you.

Order Savvy Social Security Button

Special Membership—Limited Time Only

The Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomers program is $597 (plus shipping) if you order today for your first year (a $3,118 value).

I think that's an extraordinary value for the price—considering the importance of the topic and the amount of business you stand to gain from sharing this essential information with clients and prospects.

But for right now, I'm making the absolute best offer possible. It's been a difficult year for advisors all around and I really want the good folks in this industry to start looking ahead and start thinking about what good, positive things can happen.

We're offering a special deal if you order now. You can save $2,521 by ordering the program today (plus shipping.)

Risk-Free GUARANTEE for Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomers

100% satisfaction guaranteedWe think this program is so important to your community, your clients and your success, that I'm trying to make it as easy for you as possible to gain this important expertise. So here's my promise:

Order Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomers today and save yourself $2,521.

Make Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomers a key client-service offering for your pre-retirees and their friends and families. The coming retirement wave presents a unique and sustained opportunity for you to extend and enhance your reputation.

By helping people better understand all their retirement benefit options under Social Security, you'll be helping them achieve a small "peace of mind" as they move along to the rest of the retirement income planning puzzle. That's Why I Urge You to Obtain the Savvy Social Security Planning for Boomers Program and Make This Guarantee:

Learn the program. Present it to your clients and prospects. Use it one-on-one and in group settings—as a client education workshop. Do that for 12 months. If you're not finding that your clients and prospects are extremely grateful to have a competent, confident and knowledgeable advisor guide them through the ins and outs of Social Security, we'll completely refund 100% of your purchase price—guaranteed, no questions asked. Just call and tell us you're returning all the materials to Horsesmouth at: Horsesmouth, 21 W. 38th St., 14th Fl., New York, NY 10018. Phone: 212-343-8760, Ext. 1.

You Wouldn't Do This to Your Clients, Would You?

If a client had a question about required minimum distributions you'd never send them to the IRS for the answer, right? Right.

Thank You for a Wonderful New Marketing Program

"Your Savvy Social Security Planning program has been wonderful and I hope to become proficient enough with the material to be considered an expert myself one day. Nowadays, I read everything and anything that concerns Social Security. I have hosted two Social Security presentations for my clients so far and I am considering holding public seminars later this year.  I am sure this will lead to new clients for me. Thank you for a wonderful new marketing program."

—Sally Ng, Walnut Creek, CA
It needs to be the same for Social Security questions. Yes, of course, when it comes to actually applying for benefits, your clients will need to go down to the local Social Security office and complete some forms and get the ball rolling.

But you'd never just suggest that they count on the Social Security Administration for the bigger answers of where and how their benefits fit into the bigger retirement income issue.

That's why you need to take charge on this issue—here is where you demonstrate leadership and expertise.

You've got a chance to project competency and mastery and confidence on this very important issue.

Clients' peace of mind and their own sense of freedom and autonomy and independence in retirement depend on getting the question right.

That's why they'll want your help as an expert. And that's why they'll be loathe to count on a government bureaucrat to help them.

When you look at the coming wave of boomer retirement, and especially the issue of Social Security, it's easy to see that the motivated and entrepreneurial advisor is faced with a series of opportunities disguised as difficult problems…

Putting Savvy Social Security Planning into your client education mix is the way to go. Go ahead now and make your order today and save yourself $2,521—a one-time offer. Offer ends soon.

About Horsesmouth

Since 1997, Horsesmouth has been helping financial advisors succeed by providing timely guidance on key topics such as business development, practice management, financial planning and investment strategies.


Sean M. Bailey
Editor in Chief
21 West 38th Street
New York, NY 10018
888-336-6884 ext. 1

 P.S. Remember, order now and save $2,521 on your Savvy Social Security for Boomers subscription

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PLEASE NOTE: Your 2016 Social Security materials will ship in January 2016.

FOR INSTANT SERVICE Call Toll Free: 1-888-336-6884 ext 1
(Outside U.S.): 1-212-343-8760
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