March 28, 2012

Services to Help You Maximize Your Social Security

The other day I discussed AARP's Social Security Benefit Calculator.   That is a simple online tool to help you figure the best way to claim your Social Security in order to maximize your benefits.   Such a tool is a good start but for something like Social Security I'd really recommend doing a deeper analysis.

There are some services out there that help you determine how to maximize your Social Security.  Here are 3 options :

Social Security Solutions

They charge $19.95, $49,95 or $124.95 for 3 different product levels.
All their options include a personalized recommendation and a detailed custom report.   Paying more will get you unlimited alternative comparisons, detailed charts and graphs or even a personal live consultation.

AnalyzeNow 

They have some free tools for retirement planning.   One of them is their free social security planner.   The tool comes in the form of a downloadable Excel sheet.

Maximize My Social Security 

This is another fee service which charges $40.   They say on their website that : " It takes into account Social Security's earnings test, reductions for early retirement, re-computation of benefits, delayed retirement credit, family benefit maximum, windfall elimination provision, government pension offset provision, and option to file and suspend."

I haven't used any of these myself, so I don't know how good they are.   If I were close to retirement age I would use all of them and compare results and then go with the common or consensus recommendations.   You might question if it is worth spending $20 or $40 on such a service, but I think it certainly can be worth that cost.   Social Security benefits can end up paying out several hundred thousands of dollars over a married couple's lifetime.  Making sure you maximize the benefits can have a significant financial impact over your retirement years.

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