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Social Security benefits are an important part of your client’s retirement plan. While many clients are hardwired to believe they should begin collecting benefits as early as possible, there are many other options to consider.

Social Security Benefits Estimator
Our Social Security Benefits Estimator will help your married, divorced, widowed and single clients develop a strategy for maximizing their benefits.
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Social Security Estimator capabilities

Use our patent-pending tool to run various collection strategies for your clients to see which strategy could result in the greatest combined lifetime benefits.

  • Assess the Social Security benefits of married, widowed, divorced and single clients, including spousal and survivor benefits where applicable.
  • Compare benefits from multiple distinct collection strategies to automatically provide the strategy with the highest average lifetime benefits.
  • Customize calculations based on estimated Social Security benefits, government pensions, cost-of-living adjustments and investment returns.

What role can Social Security play in your client’s overall retirement plans?

Watch this seminar led by Rob Kron, head of Investment and Retirement Education for BlackRock, for an overview of:


  • How Social Security benefits work for your clients
  • When and how your clients can start receiving Social Security benefits
  • Opportunities to increase benefits throughout retirement
  • Download seminar slides Download seminar slides

    How to start the Social Security conversation with your clients

    Use this conversation flow to start the Social Security discussion with your clients:

    • Engage with the right clients (target age 55-65) and gather relevant data.

      • Have your clients send you their Social Security statements ahead of your discussion. The statement contains all the information you need for a Social Security analysis plus their earnings history for additional client background.
    • Explain what Social Security benefits are.

      • Share these Social Security benefits with your clients to help explain the full picture.
      • Social Security benefits should be one part of a broader retirement plan. As such, you’ll want to consider how these benefits supplement other sources of retirement income that your clients may receive from 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or other retirement savings plans.
    • Run a patent-pending custom analysis using our Social Security Benefits Estimator.

      • Launch our patent-pending tool to run various collection strategies for your clients to see which strategy could result in the greatest combined lifetime benefits.
    • Explain the collection strategies shown in the report.

      • The age at which clients start to collect benefits will determine the size of their monthly checks and, ultimately, the amount of SS income they collect over their lifetimes. Benefits are based on individuals’ primary insurance amount (PIA), which is the monthly benefit they are eligible to receive at full retirement age (FRA).
      • Sooner is not necessarily better. Your clients may begin collecting SS benefits as early as age 62 — but with a consequence. By collecting early, they lock in permanent reductions to their monthly benefits. At age 62, a client would lock in a reduction of 25% (assuming a FRA of age 66). That reduction decreases for each month the client waits after age 62, up until FRA.
      • Patience can pay. Conversely, SS benefits will increase for every month the client waits beyond FRA, maxing out at age 70. These monthly increases are called delayed retirement credits (DRCs) and are equal to 8% yearly (assuming the client was born in 1943 or later). If clients with a FRA of 66 wait until age 70 to collect, their individual benefits max out at 132% of their PIA.

    • Discuss other factors that influence benefits, such as spousal and survival benefits.

      For some clients, you may need to dig deeper. More discussion may be required if the client is:

      • Eligible for spousal and survivor benefits: Click here to learn if you may need to factor in spousal and survival benefits.
      • Working while collecting benefits: Clients who collect benefits before FRA and continue to work will be subject to an annual earnings test. The result may be that some or all of their benefits are withheld. In its basic form, the earnings test allows individuals to earn up to $16,920 in 2017 ($15,720 in 2016) before the SSA starts to withhold $1 of benefits for every $2 above $16,920. There is a different test applied in the year the individual reaches FRA and in the first year of collection. All forms of the test apply to earned income only.
      • Collecting a pension: Pensions from work where your client did not pay into the SS system (i.e., government pensions) can reduce his or her individual benefits due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). This reduction will not be reflected on your client’s SS statement. For an accurate estimate of your client’s SS benefits, use the SSA’s WEP Calculator.
    • Ask for referrals.

      • Ask clients if they have friends or family who could benefit from this information.

    Continue your clients' retirement planning with iRetire

    iRetire® by BlackRock
    iRetire® is a retirement income planning tool that offers you a repeatable and engaging process to help your clients achieve their goal income in retirement. Use iRetire to guide your client's retirement journey beyond Social Security.
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