Download the following support materials:

Field Guide to Social Security
Social Security Workbook

Why It Matters:
According to AARP Social Security Planning in 2015 and Beyond
  • Only 16% of people 45-64 turn to their financial professional for information of Social Security.
  • 39% expect Social Security may make up 50% of your client’s retirement income.
  • Only 9% of future beneficiaries claim to be knowledgeable on Social Security’s benefits.

Despite being a government program that is more than 80 years old, Social Security is still surprisingly misunderstood. As a financial professional, you’re in a unique position to help your clients learn the important ins and outs of this vital retirement income program.

Your conversations with clients around retirement strategies most likely include talk of 401(k) plans, investments, properties, and even Social Security. While there’s a good chance your clients know the balance of their various accounts and debts, they may not fully understand how or even when to claim Social Security.

The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) in conjunction with AARP conducted a study, Social Security Planning in 2015 and beyond: Perspectives of Future Beneficiaries and Financial Planners. The study aimed to better understand the alignment and gaps between the understanding and advice provided by Certified Financial PlannersTM to future Social Security beneficiaries. The conclusions may surprise you and lay the foundation for important conversations as part of your client’s planning process.

Beneficiary perspectives:
  • Only 33% know waiting until age 70 will maximize their Social Security benefit, 13% plan to wait that long.
  • One quarter know they can collect benefits based on an ex-spouse’s work history if they were married at least 10 years.
  • A scant 16% turned to a financial professional for information related to Social Security retirement benefits.
  • Nearly 40% expect Social Security to make up at least half of their retirement income.
  • Nearly half say they’re somewhat or very knowledgeable about how their benefits will be determined.
CFP perspectives:
  • CFPs say 1% of their clients are very knowledgeable about their Social Security benefits.
  • Nearly 28% of CFPs recommend clients wait until age 70 to claim Social Security benefits.
  • An overwhelming 94% say their clients will rely on Social Security for 50% or less of their retirement income.
  • Some 81% of CFPs attend professional conferences to stay up to date on Social Security benefits.

Learn more about discussing and planning for Social Security with your clients.

Things to Consider: