Expert Commentary

Wall Street Journal recommends Social Security Solutions

Today the Wall Street Journal recommended Social Security Solutions after its evaluation of software to help consumers maximize their Social Security benefits.

Anne Tergesen evaluated a number of different software providers and says, “Social Security Solutions gets my vote for most user friendly.”  As part of her evaluation, Social Security Solutions also provided the largest amount of benefits based on the tested client case.

Overall, Social Security Solutions has the deepest logic engine developed by Dr. William Reichenstein from Baylor University. He and William Meyer have published more than anyone else in the country on Social Security strategies.

Anne concludes, “Social Security Solutions - takes into account the widest variety of household configurations and the impact on Social Security of a higher number of other sources of retirement income, and thus allows for greater customization.”

We are proud to bring an easy to use and powerful solution on this important financial decision.

Best way to coordinate Social Security with your savings – Morningstar interviews Founders

See recent interview of Meyer and Reichenstein by Morningstar. Learn how maximizing Social Security can make your money last longer. A case study and free report allow you to see how their research published in the Journal of Financial Planning could help you coordinate your claiming strategy with your retirement savings.

Link to article:,;frmtId=12,%20brf295

Did you take Social Security early?

Many people took Social Security earlier than they wanted because of the recession and unforeseen circumstances.

The rules let you “redo” your Social Security if it has been less than 12 months since y

ou started. Our research shows optimizing Social Security can add many years of longevity to most peoples savings. Take a “second look” and assess whether it makes sense for your to do a redo.

More people have money fears

Updated research – should you be scared? Ameriprise released a great research report that updates their findings from 2007…are you feeling worse off? The data says so.

“In 2007, when the first survey was conducted, perceptions were fairly positive. For example, 51% of baby boomers were “very confident” of their ability to assure “a financially secure life” for themselves and their children. Today, however, perceptions are quite a bit darker: only 33% of boomers are confident of their ability to guarantee their own financial security. And, among their millennial children, perceptions have plummeted even more sharply — in 2007, 58% were very confident of their ability to assure their own financial security; today, 37% are.”

Most research shows Boomers’ number one fear is running out of money. I agree this is a scary time, BUT it doesn’t have to be for YOU.

Here are my recommendations:
1) Action time – whether you have saved a lot or a little, there are a number of smart moves to make the most of what you have. Don’t make a mistake. Get help or educate yourself.
2) Plan – don’t put your head in the sand. Run analysis on your situation to see how long your money last.
3) Find an expert. You can be in control of your financial affairs, but spending time with an expert as you transition into retirement or if you are already retired and don’t have a withdrawal strategy is worth the time and money!
4) Withdrawal strategy – make sure you focus in the areas you can control…be tax efficient keeping more of your money. Make sure you keep your costs low. Stay on top of your plan monitoring your spending and how your money is drawn down relative to your plan.

All these steps should be fun. If you are scared, don’t be. Find a fee-only advisor to work with.

Finally, Social Security is the biggest financial decision a majority of people make.  ”Run your numbers.”  You will be shocked at the difference between a good and bad strategy.  Claim benefits to maximize the money you take from the system could result in a lot more money and make you be more confident.

Want a guaranteed 7% return in todays market? Then maximize your Social Security

Here is an article in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal about some recent research done by a Stanford and Occidental professor sponsored the Social Security Administration. I’m familiar with the research since it referenced our research we published on how to create a Social Security Strategy.

They focused on “returns” or return comparisons by maximizing your benefits. Check out the picture (enlarge image at the top) – return of a 10 yr Treasury Inflation Protected Bond -.26% OR return of an example married couple maximizing Social Security 7%. We have a paper coming out very soon in the Journal of Wealth Management on this very same area.

People, I don’t care what dimension you use…1) how much longer will your money last by maximizing Social Security, 2) how much more Social Security benefits you can receive, 3) how much more income you will receive, or 4) added “return”….all the numbers show the same thing. If you create a smart strategy to maximize your benefits, you will be a lot better off.

We have the leading application based on our research to help you get the most benefits. Also, the best planning process to show you how to combine your Social Security with a withdrawal plan on our other site

This is a very important decision. Make sure you take time to do some research to increase your benefits.

Our New Research is Out!

The Journal of Financial Planning just published our research in the April edition.

I’m very proud of this work and want to give you some of my thoughts. I see this research as a large “breakthrough” for retirees and improving financial advice. Overall, the premise of the research is so simple it makes sense! If you get more Social Security, your money will last longer.

1. Deciding when to take Social Security is the largest decision you will make in your life. We showed that this decision adds 2 to 10 years to the length of how long your savings will last depending on your affluence.
2. The amont you have saved doesn’t matter. You should consider a strategy that maximes because it will have a huge impact on your financial situation. Note, the greatest impact is for families that haven’t saved as much. For example, someone who has $200,000 of savings can add +10 years of longevity to their money by maximizing Social Security.
3. This is the first study that addresses Social Security and taxation in the retirement income literature about the “4% rule.” It is crazy to me that there are all these “rules of thumb” that exclude the biggest elements that will impact your retirement strategy…taxes and Social Security.

I’ll post more about the research over time. But, here is the bottom line: 1) if you haven’t started Social Security, definitely spend time learning about creating a smart strategy to get more money, and 2) if you have started Social Security, make sure you withdrawal other saving you have to minimize the taxation of Social Security. We’ve developed tools to help you with this. Also, we can give you some educational pieces or guide you.

People, by carefully integrating Social Security into your financial plan every year can add thousands of dollars back into your pocket.

So, I’m proud to share our research with you and the financial services industry. We worked on this for a long time. I’m hopeful other institutions can use these ideas to help more Americans live better in retirement.