With the recent changes (April 2016) in some of the rules for drawing Social Security, a lot of good plans for retirement income have been dashed on the rocks of new regulations!

Just a year ago it was possible for a spouse to retire and suspend his or her benefits and draw on the other spouse’s SS if they were also full retirement age.  Then that spouse could wait as long as age 70 and get an 8% increase in the monthly benefit for each year of postponement.  So if my benefit at age 66 was $1,000 monthly, I could wait until 70 and have a monthly benefit of $1,320!  All the while  I could have been drawing a spousal benefit on my wife’s retirement benefit.

Since that and other possibilities have been removed, planning for income in retirement is even more important than ever.  The opportunities for maximizing social Security are not as great, but there are still things to consider before making the choice of your lifetime.

What is one’s family history for life expectancy?  Is my health better or worse that my parents’ and grandparents’ health?  Do I really need the income today?    Is my income and tax situation such that taking Social Security now is wise?  What is the health of my spouse like?  Do we have the desire to leave assets to children/family or worthy causes?  There are other considerations, but using certified Social Security planning software to look at various alternatives can help.  Sometimes local Social Security offices do not give the correct answers and they are not responsible if they don’t.