My spouse and I felt like we should not sign up for Social Security until we understood all of our options.
The Social Security Administration literature and models as well as thousands of generic books and articles on SS are helpful but just not enough.
I found that a good computer model would identify the exact timing and dollar-benefit associated with each of the particular options we had.
After trying several computer models I found the one at ssincomeplanner.com to be the best by far, no contest, and a good purchase value.
The most useful part is the Additional Notes section which tells SS applicants the Social Security Procedure Manual Reference. They will need that when they try to get Social Security personnel to implement the 70/70 + Spouse Spousal benefits strategy. Thank you also for indicating this strategy cannot be done on-line. It took several visits to the Social Security office to straighten out what we had attempted to do on-line.
I considering buying this app for several months, but didn't want to spend money on something not reviewed and one I could already figure out by using a couple of formulas and dates in Excel. I am married and both my spouse and I have worked for enough years to qualify for benefits now. We had planned on waiting until both were beyond retirement age to maximize our benefits (8% gain each year for each year you defer retirement). I had no idea that it was possible to continue to grow our accounts while one of us could take a spousal benefit for a few years in the meantime.
After entering a small amount of information, the application automatically calculated nine different scenarios. Each shows a strategy based on your age, the locked in amount you'll receive at the time you apply for benefits, current laws, etc. The unknown is always each person's life expectancy. Calculations can only be correct if you live exactly as long as the assumptions. The application allows you to do what-if scenarios if you think you'll live less or more than the average.
By taking the advise of one of the scenarios and applying for benefits on different dates than we had planned, we will receive over $20,000 more in benefits in the long run. I had never considered this option; never thought it possible. My $20 expense could net $20,000. You do the math.
Better Social Security Claiming Decisions With Your iPhone
Using a recommended Social Security claiming strategy AND incorporating that into your overall retirement income strategy can in many cases deliver $50,000 - $200,000 more retirement income than uncoordinated choices will provide.
Best Social Security Calculators
Social Security Calculators Help You Maximize Benefits.
This social security calculator is not free, but I think it is worth every penny. It allows you to run scenarios starting at ages in between the typical bend points of 62, 66 and 70, and it allows modeling for widow/widower benefits as well as benefits for a divorced spouse.
The Software was originally developed for financial planners to help female clients who often are dependent on their spouse's Social Security benefits.
Maximize your Social Security
I initially bought it to calculate numbers for my husband and me, then I was so amazed by the differences in the potential collection scenarios it presented that I decided to write about it.
The scenario that worked best for us was one I would never have contemplated. It sounds complicated, but it nets us nearly $90,000 more over about 15 years than if we both waited until full retirement age to collect.
This could be an enlightening exercise for everyone.
You've filled a void and done it in a very professional way.
This tool addresses a critical need.
Your software is what I have been looking for the past few years.
I would be happy to recommend you.
(Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine - December 2010 Issue)
All these complicated permutations about how and when to collect Social Security benefits are enough to make your head explode. But help is available at a new Web site.
You can crunch your own numbers under various scenarios at www.ssincomeplanner.com for a small fee. SOCIAL SECURITY Strategy Calculator
The Internet-based software will run the numbers for claiming strategies for married couples, divorced individuals, widows and widowers.
The software also produces a report which highlights the chosen strategy, any spousal, ex-spouse or survivor benefits users may be eligible for and includes the dates that users will want to file for each type of benefit based on that strategy.