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Finishing Well

Jul 27, 2019

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". Robby points out that we should recognize that we are "poor in spirit" when deciding when to take our Social Security and ask for help. Bloomberg recently published an article titled "American's lose trillions claiming Social Security at the wrong time". Hans agrees that generally, people start their Social Security too soon, usually because they did not ask for help. 


People who delay Social Security can live off their IRAs or take another job if they don't want to retire yet. Hans emphasizes that, on average, households that take Social Security too early lose $110,000 of lifetime income. Robby talks about how it's often the people who can least afford this loss that take Social Security too early because they think they're out of options.


Mistakes are also made under the misconception that the full retirement age is 62, when in fact it's now 66 and a few months for most people. Hans warns that starting your Social Security at age 62 will significantly reduce your income for the rest of your life.


On the other end of the spectrum, the people who take Social Security too late are those who rely on actuarial tables that treat everyone the same and don't accommodate unique situations. Hans says one exception to the rule are people who have a sense of their mortality. For those who have a family history that indicates they won't live as long, he recommends they take Social Security earlier rather than later.


Another example of a situation where Social Security should be taken earlier appears in Hans' book. Hans talks about a 67-year-old client that initially decided to delay Social Security. As it turns out, this client had a son in high school and was eligible to receive 1.5x his original Social Security benefits. Hans prompted the client to take his Social Security immediately because the benefits were greater than the loss he would've otherwise had from taking it that early.


One area where Hans deferred from Bloomberg was on the topic of spousal benefits. Robby plans on waiting until the age of 70 to take his Social Security to ensure his younger wife will receive a larger check after he's gone. Hans says he also plans on waiting until he turns 70 because his wife's family history indicates that she'll live into her mid-90s and he wants her to have enough money to support herself during these extra years.


Up next, Hans talks about the effect taxes have on Social Security, IRA, and pension benefits. Hans says a lot of people don't know that receiving income from a traditional IRA will cause their Social Security to be taxed. Robby says this really hurt one of his friends and took a huge chunk of his income. The solution to this problem is converting your IRA account into a tax-free Roth IRA before retiring. Hans says he plans on doing this before he turns 70 to live tax-free for the rest of his life.


Hans wants his listeners to know that Cardinal is licensed in all 50 states and can help no matter where you live over the phone. Even if you have to give up is a face-to-face interaction, you'll have access to an independent brokerage that represents almost all insurance companies, most investment products, and will have direct access to Hans' expertise. 


Don't forget to get your copy of "The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning for and Living in Retirement" on Amazon or on for free!


You can contact Hans and Cardinal by emailing or calling 919-535-8261. Learn more at