Maximizing Social Security
For many Americans, Social Security is the single largest asset they have in retirement, and greater than 90% of all recipients do not maximize their Social Security benefits. Advance planning is essential and the decisions you make today can have a tremendous impact on the total amount of benefits you stand to receive over your lifetime.
This educational workshop will provide you with much-needed information to help you understand the system, coordinate spousal and survivor benefits, minimize taxes, and maximize your personal benefits. Whether you’re single, married, divorced, or widowed, there may be ways to maximize the lifetime Social Security benefits you receive.
One of the most important decisions you need to make before you retire is when and how to claim Social Security benefits. About half of retirees apply for Social Security as soon as they become eligible at age 62, but by doing so, they may significantly and permanently impact their income and benefits for the rest of their lives. The difference between the best and worst possible decision of when to start Social Security can be well over $100,000!
Tax Efficiency in Retirement
Your retirement will likely be subject to various forms of taxation. This educational workshop will focus on two key areas where you can proactively manage (hopefully minimize!) the associated tax burdens. The first one relates to pre-tax retirement accounts such as traditional 401K plans and IRAs. While many retirees wait to take their required minimum distributions (RMDs), this approach is rarely optimal and can result in $100,000 or more of unnecessary taxes.
The second area where we can improve efficiency is investment-related taxes (i.e., taxes on dividends, bond interest, rental income, and capital gains). Unfortunately, this angle is often ignored or assumed to be an inevitable part of investing for retirement. However, very simple strategies can reduce investment-related taxes by 30% or more.
After discussing the above tax challenges, we will identify specific strategies to address them within your own retirement. Some of the strategies we will discuss include asset location (not the same as asset allocation!), Roth conversions, retirement income withdrawal strategies, and integrating charitable giving.
Annuities: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Annuities have become a popular tool for retirement income planning. Cynically speaking, we would say commissions have always been a motivating factor for agents to push annuity products – especially the most expensive products paying the largest commissions. However, that is not to say all annuities are bad.
As a fiduciary always looking out for my clients' best interests, I find the simpler and typically lower-cost income annuities can often add value in the context of retirement income and planning. In addition to the undeniably attractive feature of guaranteed income for life, the specialized tax treatment of income annuities can lead to significant tax savings. However, this only applies if the appropriate products are used and structured correctly.
This seminar starts with an overview of the different types of annuities. For each type of annuity, I will discuss its mechanics, highlight what fees you might pay, and explain how each product could impact your taxes during retirement. Some products will be more straightforward and easy to understand (e.g., income annuities). However, I will do my best to explain the critical features of the more complicated annuity products (e.g., variable and index annuities) and why they may be more or less attractive for different situations.