When to Apply for Social Security Retirement Benefits: Strategies for Maximizing the Guaranteed Income You Can't Outlive (My Personal CFO)

Lisa G. Hay CPA

Did you know?

• Each year that one waits to collect Social Security, benefits increase by about 8 percent a year PLUS the rate of inflation.
• Before reaching what's called full retirement age (66 for people nearing retirement today) there are rules reducing benefits depending on how much outside earnings people make. Those penalties disappear at full retirement age.
• If you take benefits early and lose some or all of them because of Social Security's earnings test, Social Security will actuarially increase your benefits starting at your full retirement age based on the number of months of benefits you forfeited.
• A married couple could be looking at a lifetime Social Security benefit in excess of $1 million.
• For couples, the difference between an optimal Social Security strategy and a poor one could be $100,000 or more.

The bullet points above are just a few basic rules and information about Social Security, and yet few people are aware of these concepts.

In fact, the majority of Americans spend more time planning their next vacation than examining their options and strategies for when to begin this vital income stream. Finding a professional to provide objective advice can also prove difficult. Banks and other financial institutions don't train advisors to provide advice on claiming strategies and Social Security Administration personnel are neither trained nor allowed to give advice.

The optimal age to take Social Security retirement benefits is dependent upon a large number of interrelated and individual factors which must be considered. You cannot assume that commonly held misconceptions such as "You should always file as early as you can for benefits" or "You need to stop working to receive benefits" are correct or represent the optimal strategy for YOU. These one-size-fits-all answers leave many retirees failing to maximize the benefits they have earned.

Lisa Hay, CPA, author, combines a clear and friendly writing style with tax and financial planning expertise to provide the reader with a comprehensive overview of the myriad of factors involved in the complex decision of when to begin Social Security retirement benefits. This book will help you construct smart claiming strategies that will enhance your lifetime income and minimize your risk of running out of money!

Neither investors nor advisors can control the financial markets, but with good Social Security planning you can maximize the chances of a happy retirement. When to Apply for Social Security Retirement Benefits provides invaluable advice on how to do this.

Please note that SS Book Description for When to Apply for Social Security Retirement Benefits: Strategies for Maximizing the Guaranteed Income You Can't Outlive does not cover Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


This guide is the result of my study and my experience providing Social Security planning advice to clients. I believe that it is one of the most comprehensive, relevant tools available to ensure that you are equipped to make a well-informed decision about when to begin taking your Social Security benefits.

Ultimately, my hope is that this guide will equip and inspire you to make well-informed decisions which will allow you to pursue and achieve your individual goals for your retirement years.


A licensed CPA, Lisa Hay is a financial author, speaker, consultant and founder of Ascend Financial LLC, a financial and tax planning firm. Lisa is also the author of "Estate Planning Checklist: Prepare Your Affairs for Your Heirs". In addition to working with individual clients, Ascend Financial LLC serves corporate and non-profit clients as an independent financial education firm providing objective Retirement and Financial Education and Planning services: Financial Education Without a Sales Pitch!



  • When to Apply for Social Security Retirement Benefits: Strategies for Maximizing the Guaranteed Income You Can't Outlive: UPDATED FOR NEW RULES (My Personal CFO) (English Edition)