Does This Plan Make Sense?

Feb 17 2017 - 8:00am

Retire early, and plan on filing for Social Security in order to maximize our expected lifetime income. Full retirement age for both of us is 67.

Age: 55
Estimated benefit (in today’s dollars) at age 62: $850
Estimated benefit (in today’s dollars) at age 70: $1,200

Age: 53
Estimated benefit (in today’s dollars) at age 70: $2,700

Filing can be delayed as long as necessary, but wife’s life expectancy is less than husband, due to long-standing health issue. Thus, plan is for husband to file at age 62 for his retirement benefit, and switch to spouse’s benefit when wife files at age 70.

Does this make sense?


It's not the worst option, but if the husband takes benefits at age 62 he'll be stuck with roughly a 30% reduction in his full retirement age benefit rate for as long as both members of the couple are living. So, a better plan may be for the husband to file on his own record at age 67, and then file for an excess spousal benefit when his wife files for her benefits.

To start with, though, the math doesn't work with regard to the amounts shown in your question as the husband's potential benefit rates. If the husband's rate at age 62 is $850, his age 67 rate would be a little over $1200, and his age 70 rate would be around $1500. That could change the optimal filing strategy for this couple, so they'll want to be sure that they start out with accurate data.

Before filing, you may want to strongly consider running the maximization software available on this website. The software will accurately calculate the potential benefit rates, and analyze all of various filing options in order to determine the best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry