Thanks for your generous offer to intervene on my behalf. I have another appointment tomorrow morning with the SS folks to apply again. I don't anticipate calling you, 1) I doubt if they will allow a phone call to a third party, and 2) it's unreasonable to ask you to sit by your phone for a call that may or may not come.
I have done my homework since I received your email (sifting through the SS Manual and the POMS), and have convinced myself that, yes indeed, the approach outlined by the MMSS is accurate and that the SSA staff was mistaken. The clincher is GN 00204.020.F.2.a. I think I can present a coherent enough case to them to demonstrate that. I plan to take copies of the applicable sections of those documents with me tomorrow in the event I run into the same issues again. I think the only unknown at this point is whether my daughter is disabled "enough" to qualify as a child-in-care.
Thanks again for your help and for your excellent MMSS program - money well spent!
"Your software has been invaluable."
— Martha, Shedden Social Security and Retirement Planning
Thank you so very much for getting back to me so promptly. I read your book which was excellent! I'm so glad I used your calculator. Like so many of my contemporaries, I was ready to file for my Social Security benefits at age 66. Now we will certainly wait, and follow your advice. I was astonished at how much money I would have lost should I have done so. I am recommending your book and calculator to my family and close friends.
Thank you for making extra ordinarily complicated government policy understandable to a "lay person". You have performed an outstanding public service!
—David Engle, retired state employee, Hagerstown Maryland
I know my friend A just emailed you, but I want to add my thanks to hers. Her new widow's benefit raises her monthly Social Security payment by 40% -- a material improvement in her financial situation.
As I said before: you're truly making a difference -- in a lot of people's lives.
Thank you so much.
Thank you very much Laurence, this is extremely helpful.
I really appreciate all the support you and your team lend, it is invaluable!
I have an order to buy your book from Amazon and I was notified the order is delayed because they are out of stock and that you are are a Number One Best Seller! Congratulations. I just used Maximize My Social Security with a client last night and she was very excited to learn about her different options with Social Security and those shown using ESPlanner. Thanks for having such great products!
—Gary Daniels, Personal Financial Mavens, Inc.
You do a great job covering all bases. And thanks for taking time out to talk with me. Not many owners of a business will take time to return calls from a customer so quickly.
—Rich Grawer, Teacher, Athletic Director, and Coach (retired), St. Louis MO
You would not know how much my partner and I appreciate your expertise, enthusiasm, and willingness to put these into use to help your fellow citizens! —Dr. Resul Kann Ozbayrak, CEO of Bosphorus Health PLLC, Denver, Colorado.
"The maximizemysocialsecurity.com calculator was by far the best tool I found to help me decide when to take my Social Security benefits. It is accurate, able to combine both my wife and my own social security benefits, is easy to use, and enabled analysis of lots of different scenarios. Kudos to Dr. Kotlikoff for an excellent solution to a complex problem." Tim Sharick, retired, Tracy, CA
—Live in Tracy, California and am retired.
I love this program and would not have known about spousal benefits for spouses with young children without it.
—Bob Poole, Social Worker (retired), Sebastopol CA
I've used a few other SS software programs before and yours is, without a doubt, the best I've come across so far. It's extremely user friendly and clients get it almost immediately.
—John Craten, PNC Bank, Wealth Mgt. Planning Services
The best money I've ever spent! Your calculator gave me a much more accurate sum of what I can expect in whatever year I decide to retire.
—Glen Dye, VP with a Property-Casualty Insurance Company, Denver, CO
I was surprised by the results as they didn’t match what I thought I knew about Social Security benefits. I emailed asking for clarification and had initial and follow-up responses within an hour. They were thorough and very helpful with a complex subject. Your customer support is outstanding.
—Robert Allen, Retired State Agency Executive, Austin, TX
We got our software program as advertised. It was easy to use. And best of all, my husband found several ways to maximize our social security that we never even dreamed of! I highly recommend this to anyone who will be collecting social security! THANKS SO MUCH! Please continue your good works . . .
—Nancy Hill, Bridgeport, WV
Just to say what a very nicely designed and elegant program. I am a long time ESP fan! I have been trying to increase the financial literacy of some colleagues (who are being shepherded into the fold of a particular financial institution and in my view might be getting somewhat fleeced there!) and will highly recommend this. (I did use an alternative but yours is superior!). Thanks for your work. I liked the comments on the longevity issue and best guess inflation and real return % rate settings. (If you did not think it would over burden you might like to hint at worst case inflation and return scenarios in the help section?). Thank you - it must be nice to do good and interesting work which has social benefits.
Thank you so much for all your assistance. I can sleep again tonight! Your product is the best $40.00 investment that I have ever made.
Thank you so much for doing this. Based on all the other calculations we've done with your calculator and the SSA calculator, the numbers seem to be accurate and it gives us another scenario we need in helping us make our decision. You've given us the kind of service we expect from a good company, but don't usually get. We appreciate it!
—Donna, Retired Educator, IA
Thank you for the immediate feedback! Ah, yes, I forgot to look into the GPO, which *does* affect the spousal benefit. But at least now I understand why. Thank you for your excellent program.
—Michael Heathman, Retired, San Francisco Bay Area, CA
I love the detailed yet succinct reports that the program provides for me to present to my clients. The customer service is excellent. They respond quickly to inquiries; I can chat via phone directly with the developers and programmers themselves, to discuss complex cases or problems I am having.
—Laura Scharr-Bykowsky, CFP®, MBA, Principal, Ascend Financial Planning, LLC
I really, really like MAXIMIZE MY SOCIAL SECURITY as I was trying to do all of these calculations with a spreadsheet before I found you last year! Your team feels like friends!
—James Tannura, The Radian Group I, Inc., Shorewood, IL
Larry Kotlikoff's "Maximize My Social Security" online calculator (perhaps "optimizer" would be a more appropriate term) is one of the most powerful — and utterly practical — tools I've found in over 40 years in the financial services industry. It takes into account many nuances and lesser-known rules that many calculators simply ignore. Users can compare a baseline scenario (e.g.: both spouses will file for benefits at Full Retirement Age) with a "maximized" scenario (i.e.: that combination of filing and claiming benefits that produces the highest Net Present Value, given user's assumptions of discount rate and ages at death). Change assumptions (how long each spouse will work, future earnings amounts, ages at death, etc.) and the tool produces another "maximized" scenario. I would recommend this tool, without reservation to any professional advisor in the financial services industry. The cost is remarkably low and the potential benefits — to the advisor and that advisor's clients — can be huge.
—John L. Olsen, CLU, ChFC, AEP, author of "Taxation and Suitability of Annuities for the Professional Advisor", co-author of "The Advisor's Guide to Annuities" and "Index Annuities: A Suitable Approach"
I wanted to get a clear view of what retirements benefits my wife and I could expect from Social Security, for various dates when I might want to (or have to) retire, and including the complex spousal benefits. I was impressed by the experience and expertise that has gone into the Maximize My Social Security program, and the variety of issues it takes into account. I like the fact that its reports are based on our actual past earnings, being able to enter estimates for future earnings, and of course to vary both of our benefit start dates. For each situation, Maximize My Social Security delivers a comprehensive report for each of us individually, and on a family basis. And for my particular situation, its handling of the complicated 'windfall elimination provision' is very useful.
—Jonathan, Astronomer, Albuquerque, NM
I have used Maximize My Social Security and found it to be a great program to model clients for Social Security Planning. It is a wonderful planning tool. One of my clients who is terminally ill asked for proper strategy on claiming social security. He is 63 and wife is 62. Neither had claimed social security. This was a special case that I did not know how to model. I reached out to Maximize My Social Security. They went to work on a special case for us and created a report specifically for my clients. It was a tremendous service to clients and me. I am very impressed by their dedication to the planning process. They went above and beyond what I expected. Thank you so much.
—Jeffrey Green, CFP, Director Retirement Income and Financial Planning, Diversified Wealth Management, LLC, St. Louis Park, MN
Got the maximizer and did the math—worked like a charm! Thank you so much for your help (and on a weekend no less).
—Diane (last name withheld for privacy reasons), Market Research Consultant, Minneapolis, MN
I am very impressed at how well the purchase went; how easy it is to enter
the basic personal information; and how easy it was to import earnings
records from SSA. This is a professional and polished product. Easy to use and great on-screen and pdf results. I am glad I found this product. I first saw the recommendation in the CNN Money - Ask the Expert site in the "How to Max Out Social Security Spousal Benefits" article. Again... I AM IMPRESSED.
—James B Ruggle, Workday HR Consultant, Waunakee, WI
I have done a significant amount of retirement financial planning (with advisors) and have always planned to wait until 70 to start taking SS benefits. I completely missed, however, the ability for my wife to file and suspend benefits while I take spousal benefits. That is more than $50K more than I was planning on.
—Vance Wonderlich, Hewlett Packard (retired financial executive), Portland, OR
The web site software is so informative. I had no idea that even if my husband and I never found work from here on out (we hope we do), and I am 62 and he is 59, if I apply at 68 and suspend and he applies at 66 for spousal and then I unsuspend at 70 and he applies for his benefits at 70, we can make $64,000 per year combined. We have some savings so it would actually be better to use savings if we had to than to take Social Security before 70! (I have a pension of $37500 so it is not all too bad in my state although there are no projected increases). People tell you "Don't use your savings," but they don't realize that if you take early Social Security, you are using your savings! This is great software.
—Helen, part time professor, AZ
Great program, well worth the money!
—Joe Austin, retired Chief Technology Officer, OR
—Steve Keefe, software engineer, Bedford, NH
Thanks so much to one and all for your excellent counsel. You folks are the best!
—Marshall Berzon, retired restauranteur, database programmer and medical coder. Berkeley, CA
I'm a satisfied user of your MaximizeMySocialSecurity tool. I found it remarkably easy to use. Even more remarkably, your tool determined that I would be eligible for spousal benefits at my full retirement age without spoiling the accrual of benefits in my own account. It therefore seems that my $40 investment in your tool increased the expected present value of my family's benefits by over $20,000. Warren Buffett, eat your heart out!
—Ed Weinberger, Adjunct Professor, Department of Finance and Risk Engineering
I will definitely recommend your product to friends who are near retirement age. I wish I had come across it years earlier. Many Thanks!
—Lu Sung, retired. Houston area
Thank you for providing this valuable information that will make a real difference in our retirement. This is the best $40 investment I’ve ever made!
—Bob Yee, Technical Consultant. Metro Detroit
I bought your product this morning, thinking it was going to be an all day project - yet I'd input all the required information & made three runs with differing variables in ~ 2 hours. A very satisfied customer who sent recommendations to several folks I think will want to buy it. Kudos to you for your product!
—John M. Dengler, retired. Anchorage
Thanks again, I’m glad I checked with you before filing and suspending with the plan to get spousal benefit. Great product – I’m in the insurance business (Senior health insurance products) and have suggested your product to many clients.
—Chris Chapin, insurance industry, Lawrence, KS
I've been struggling to reconcile the recommendations regarding Social Security made by my advisor's financial planning software with my own calculations. I believed I should wait until age 70, but his model recommended an earlier start. When I used MaximizeMySocialSecurity.com, I remembered that his model didn't properly account for the Government Pension Offset (GPO) imposed by my wife's teacher pension.
Your projection showed me that the GPO has an oversized effect on spousal and survivor benefits, even for a spouse that is only a few years younger. So, it has settled the issue for us, and I'll be recommending your site for our friends that are in a similar situation.
—Paul Barnett, retired consultant. Dallas area
You and your website have been a huge help. I recommend you regularly.
—John F. Bramfeld , Lawyer. Champaign, Il