Clark & Goshow: Understanding Social Security Claiming Strategies


Your strategy for claiming Social Security benefits can have a significant impact on your lifetime benefit. Whether you are married, divorced, widowed, or single, you have options to consider. Let us know your situation and we can suggest a strategy for you. For married couples of previous generations, claiming Social Security benefits was simple. Once they decided on a retirement age, usually at or after age 62, they called the Social Security Administration and applied for benefits. As life expectancy increased and baby boomers looked to maximize their retirement income from a variety of sources, a few Social Security claiming strategies have become common. Understanding some of your alternatives can give you a head start on determining which, if any, may fit your retirement income strategy.

Strategy #1: File and suspend This strategy increases overall benefits for couples who retire at different ages. It may be most applicable when one spouse has cumulatively earned more than the other and it allows the couple to generate some Social Security income before reaching age 70 through the spousal benefit while allowing the higher earning spouse’s benefit to grow to its maximum (at age 70).

Strategy #2: Claim now, claim more later This strategy may be appropriate for spouses where the difference in overall earnings is less extreme, making the spousal benefit less attractive than the worker’s own benefit.

Strategy #3: Combination strategy This strategy focuses on maximizing benefits for both earners at different stages of life.  It involves combining certain elements of both the file and suspend and claim now, claim more later strategies.  The result could optimize three benefits: worker, spouse and survivor.

Which strategy is best? We’ve shared some basics. It’s important to note that there is no “one size fits all” age or strategy for claiming Social Security benefits. You’ll need to analyze the financial impact of choosing one claiming strategy over another, define your financial goals and assess your retirement income needs.

At Clark & Goshow Financial Strategies Group, we’ll take the time to get to know you. We’ll look at your complete financial picture and create a plan that provides you with confidence in your financial future. Our Envision process helps identify where you are, where you want to go and how you plan to get there. Contact us to begin planning for your future today.

Clark & Goshow Financial Strategies Group, LLC 707 Eagleview Blvd, Suite 104 Eagleview Corporate Center | Exton PA 610.268.6700 |