Savvy Social Security July 14 Newsletter Now Available Online

Jul 20, 2016

In it, Elaine discusses regret as one of the hazards of growing older. Part of the financial advisor’s mission is to help their aging clients avoid regret; this objective has special meaning where Social Security claiming is concerned.

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Synthesizes Startling Claiming Data

Jul 14, 2016

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a brief with some startling figures about Social Security claiming. These statistics are derived from the Social Security Administrations’s 2013 claim data, Alicia Munnell’s earlier analysis of the SSA data, and other recent sources.

Some big figures include:

  • 75% of 2013 claimants filed early (that is, between the ages of 62 and 65).
  • 46% of 2013 claimants filed at 62.
  • Only 12% of Americans self-report an understanding of how claiming age affects benefits, according to recent surveys detailed in the brief.

Clients of financial advisors are better informed than most Americans. Nevertheless, the public is losing money to ignorance.

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Social Security Even More Crucial to Children Than We Thought

Jul 13, 2016

A new report from the Center for Global Policy Solutions argues that Social Security is even more crucial to children than the Social Security Administration’s own stastics suggest.

The SSA’s figures already account for children who receive Social Security directly—there were 3.2 million such children in 2014. The CGPS Report attempts to account for children who benefit indirectly from the Social Security system; including children in multigenerational households, children with retired parents, children who live with their grandparents, and so on. Once these indirect beneficiaries are properly accounted for, the 3.2 million figure doubles to 6.4 million.

The full report may be read here.

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Savvy Social Security June 30th Newsletter Now Available Online

Jul 5, 2016

In it, Elaine discusses the state of Social Security in light of the most recent Trustees report. Elaine supplies key insights into the direction of the political winds, as well as the rhetoric on both sides of the Social Security question. The full newsletter may be read here.

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Nationwide: Most Clients of Financial Advisors Still Not Receiving Social Security Advice

Jun 30, 2016

A recent survey of retirees and pre-retirees found that only 52% of respondents had received Social Security advice for their financial advisors. In other words, half of advisor clients still are not getting this advice.

This is, suffice to say, a potentially disastrous oversight. The Nationwide survey gives four major reasons why:

  1. Advisors risk losing clients if they fail to include Social Security in their clients’ financial plans.
  2. Many clients are uninformed about Social Security.
  3. Many clients take Social Security earlier than they should.
  4. Advisors can make all the difference.

As Savvy advisors, it will fall to you to help your clients navigate around the many Social Security pitfalls.

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Savvy Social Security June 16th Newsletter Now Available Online

Jun 27, 2016

In it, Elaine Floyd discusses the recent developments in policymakers’ thoughts on Social Security reform, as researched in the Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings’ two-year report on the subject.

Some of the popular proposals are revisions to the PIA formula, modifications to cost-of-living adjustments, raising the maximum taxable wage base, and replacing the WEP and GPO.

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The Excluded: New Statistics on a Dark Chapter in Social Security History

Jun 21, 2016

When Social Security was first passed, benefits were largely denied to both agricultural and domestic workers. This move disproportionately affected blacks and other minorities, who were overrepresented in those fields.

A recent study by the Center for Social Development at the Washington University in St. Louis attempts to estimate the economic and political consequences of this exclusion. The excluded black workers lost $143.20 billion in today’s dollars; their white counterparts lost $460.80 billion this way. The report concludes that this exclusion stifled the economic growth of the American South and preserved racist post-Reconstruction power structures.

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Prospecting Tip: Help Your Clients File For Social Security

Jun 20, 2016

In a recent newsletter, Elaine Floyd encouraged advisors to have their clients to deal with the SSA online instead of heading down there in person.

There are times when that may not be possible, though—for instance, when attempting to file for a survivor benefit. At a recent Savvy Social Security 2-Day Intensive Workshop for advisors, financial advisor and retirement specialist Peter Murphy made a case for visiting the Social Security office with your clients and prospects. Not only is this a good practical step in that it minimizes the chance of miscommunication between clients and the SSA, it’s also a great way to develop your business relationships.

There’s an intermediate option, too. You may want to bring your clients and prospects into your own office, get them set up on a computer, and help them file their online application. This demonstrates responsibility and builds goodwill.

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Presentation Tips: Workshops at Restaurants

Jun 17, 2016

Though dinner seminars have their share of skeptics, many Savvy Social Security members are finding success with this approach, as we discovered at our last Savvy Social Security 2-Day Intensive Workshop. If you’re going to go the restaurant road, though, it pays to be attentive to detail.

If you are pursuing the lucrative pre-retiree niche, be sure to choose a restaurant that’s easily accessible to older attendees and has good parking. Though costs will generally require you to limit the menu, be sure to include a vegetarian option. Most importantly, make sure to visit the restaurant in advance and double check your room’s setup: outlets, Wi-Fi, acoustics, and so on. More presentation advice can be found in our Marketing Toolkit.

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Presentation Tips: Show Attendees a Savvy Social Security Calculator Report

Jun 14, 2016

At our last Savvy Social Security 2-Day Intensive workshop, program director Elaine Floyd took some time to demonstrate our Spousal Planning Calculator’s reporting feature.

Presenting to a roomful of prospects on the subject of Social Security can be tricky. You need to position yourself as a financial educator, forgoing any “sales” conversation. However, you also want attendees to leave with some idea of what you can do for them. The reports generated by our Savvy Social Security calculators can be helpful here. Show one off during your presentation to give the audience a firsthand idea of what you do for your clients.

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Debate: On the Merits of a “Free” vs. “Paid” First Consultation

Jun 10, 2016 1 Comments

It’s become fairly common for advisors who give Social Security workshops to offer prospects a free initial consultation on Social Security claiming. While most advisors agree that it’s good to use Social Security advice to follow up with workshop prospects, there was a spirited discussion on the merits of charging for it at our last Savvy Social Security 2-Day Intensive Workshop.

Those against charging point out that people are less likely to come in and see you if you expect them to pay for it, and that the charge—generally a few hundred dollars—is not worth the clients it could cost you. Proponents of charging for the consultation suggest people have become skeptical of “free” offers, and that charging creates a more honest context for a business conversation.

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Elaine Turns 70 This Week

Jun 8, 2016 1 Comments

Happy birthday, Elaine! Those familiar with Social Security claiming know this is a very important birthday. Soon, Elaine will reap the rewards of her carefully-laid plan to delay her benefits.

Read more about Elaine’s archetypal Social Security story here, in her June 2 newsletter.

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50-Year Fugitive Caught Attempting to File for Social Security

Jun 7, 2016

71-year-old Bob Stackowitz, who escaped from a 17-year robbery sentence decades ago, was recently caught thanks to his attempt to file for Social Security.

Stackowitz surrendered peacefully to the authorities once they caught up with him, and is filing an appeal for clemency.

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Presentation Tips: Using Nametags Effectively

Jun 1, 2016

Veteran financial advisor Chad Henry of Forthright Financial Planning shared a powerful presentation tip with us at our Orlando Savvy Social Security 2-Day Intensive Workshop.

Before his Social Security presentations, Chad gives each attendee a nametag. The nametag’s got their first name on it in big, red letters. Throughout the presentation, Chad asks his audience trivia questions, making a special point to engage his audience on a first-name basis. “Good answer, Joe!” “Nice try, Eric,” and so forth. It’s an excellent way to build rapport with the crowd.

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Lawmakers Concerned Social Security Vulnerable to Hackers

May 31, 2016 1 Comments

Lawmakers have expressed concern that the Social Security Administration might be vulnerable to the same type of cyberattack that hit the Office of Personnel Management two years ago. The OPM hacks exposed the personal information of over 20 million current and former federal employees.

The SSA recently requested an external audit of their cybersecurity. The auditor was able to lift sensitive information from the SSA’s networks without their noticing. More information on the incident here, at the Hill’s policy blog.

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Presentation Tips: Manage Questions to Your Comfort Level

May 26, 2016

At Horsesmouth’s last Savvy Social Security 2-Day Intensive workshop, E.I.C. Sean Bailey advised the attending advisors to “manage questions to their comfort level” when presenting Social Security workshops. An advisor new to public speaking may want to forgo taking questions during the presentation, instead handling them privately after the workshop. Conversely, a veteran public speaker can take questions throughout the workshop while still maintaining an appropriate pace.

Remember: If you don’t know the answer to a specific question, you can always promise the attendee that you will contact them with an answer down the line. Not only does this show responsibility, it also allows you to stay in touch with the attendee.

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File-and-Suspend Function Improved in Calculator

May 20, 2016

The file-and-suspend claiming strategy closed for good last month. However, we recognize that advisors may need to use our calculators to model file-and-suspend scenarios for clients who placed their suspensions before the deadline.

When you open the client screen of the Spousal Planning and WEP/GPO Planning Calculators, you will see a new button: “Previously filed/suspended before 4/29/2016.” If you click this button, the calculator will allow you to model a “file-and-suspend” scenario and generate suggestions on how to move forward with the strategy.

Note: This new button is grayed out until you enter a valid file-and-suspend age. For instance, if your client is 65 now and could not have suspended prior to 4/29/2016, the button will remain inaccessible.

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Savvy Social Security May 19 Newsletter Now Available Online

May 19, 2016

Marriage, divorce, and remarriage all have unique conseqeunces for one’s Social Security. A first-time marriage can only result in gain, but both divorce and remarriage can have negative consequences.

In the Savvy Social Security May 19 Newsletter, Elaine discusses the ins-and-outs of how marital decisions affect Social Security income.

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PROGRAM UPDATE: Savvy Social Security for Couples Presentation Updated

May 12, 2016

The Savvy Social Security Planning for Couples presentation has been updated to reflect the recent changes made by Congress. A new FINRA review letter is pending. In the meantime, you can download the new Couples presentation and use as you see fit. We’ll make an announcement when the FINRA review is completed.

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