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Social Security Optimization Strategies

Posted April 24, 2024

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One empowering aspect of retirement planning is the strategy for filing for Social Security benefits. Given the complexities of Social Security rules and their significant impact on lifetime benefits, choosing the right time and method to file is essential. This article equips you with the knowledge of optimal Social Security filing strategies, particularly focusing on coordination between spouses to maximize their combined benefits, empowering you to make informed decisions about your financial future.

Understanding Social Security Basics

Understanding the basics of Social Security is crucial as it provides a foundation of retirement income for many Americans. Benefits are calculated based on a worker’s 35 highest-earning years. The Full Retirement Age (FRA), the age at which a person may retire with full benefits, varies from 66 to 67, depending on the birth year. Benefits can be taken as early as age 62, at a reduced level, or delayed until age 70, increasing by a certain percentage each year delayed past the FRA. This clarity in understanding the basics will help you navigate the complexities of Social Security planning.

Individual Filing Strategies

Couples and Coordination of Benefits

Regarding couples, deciding when to file for Social Security should be coordinated to ensure maximum lifetime benefits. Several strategies can be particularly beneficial:

Considerations for Coordination

1. Health and Life Expectancy: If one or both spouses have health issues or a family history suggesting a shorter life expectancy, it may be wise to claim benefits earlier.

2. Financial Needs and Other Retirement Income: Couples should evaluate their financial needs, considering other retirement income sources like pensions, IRAs, or savings. This assessment will influence whether they can afford to delay benefits.

3. Tax Implications: Social Security benefits can be taxable depending on other income. Couples should consider how their filing strategy affects their tax liability.


Optimal filing strategies for Social Security depend on individual and coupled circumstances, including health, financial needs, and other income sources. Couples should consider a coordinated approach to maximize their benefits, considering the longevity of benefits and the impact of their choices on the surviving spouse. Consulting with a financial advisor or utilizing Social Security planning tools can provide tailored advice and help navigate this complex decision-making process.

Thayer Financial, L.L.C. (“Thayer Financial”) is a registered investment adviser offering advisory services in the States of North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and in other jurisdictions where exempted. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. This website’s presence on the Internet shall not be directly or indirectly interpreted as a solicitation of investment advisory services to persons of another jurisdiction unless otherwise permitted by statute. Follow-up or individualized responses to consumers in a particular state by Thayer Financial in the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation shall not be made without our first complying with jurisdiction requirements or according to an applicable state exemption.

All written content on this site is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of Thayer Financial, L.L.C., unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to other parties’ informational accuracy or completeness. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.

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