Your Money Matters: Money Smart Week and how to maximize your social security benefits

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Antonio Lugo, Fiduciary Financial Advisor/President

Smart Wealth Strategies
125 South Wacker Drive, Ste. 300
(312) 893-5466

Wednesday, April 26
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Mabel Manning Chicago Public Library
6 S. Hoyne Avenue

Thursday, April 27
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Chicago Lawn Library
6127 S. Kedzie Avenue

For more information about Money Smart Week:


As you would expect, most people would visit their Social Security Administration Office or for answers but unfortunately, the Social Security Administration and its representatives are strictly prohibited from giving consumers any advice on your specific circumstances. They are trained to ONLY answer factual questions about the benefit rules to help you make an informed decision. For that reason, as a financial advisor, I didn't think it was fair to my clients that I didn't better how to maximize their social security benefit in coordination with everything else that a family is counting on as part of their financial security

The fact is that SS trustees estimate that, if policymakers took no further action, Social Security’s combined Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and DI trust funds will be exhausted in 2034. However, after 2034, even if policymakers took no further action, Social Security could still pay 3/4 of scheduled benefits, relying on Social Security taxes as they are collected.  So in my opinion, I don't expect it to ever go away but I think we should expect some changes/reform in the near future.

The Bi-partisan Budget Act of 2015 phased out a couple loop holes that we often call the ‘Switch Strategy’ which allows consumers to file at their lower Social Security benefit amount now and switching to a higher benefit later while the spouse or children can claim benefits on the higher earner's work record while you're in suspension. For those that have reached the age of 62 by the end 2015, one can still qualify.

The primary reason women are most impacted is because of the fact, that, on average, women outlive men and as you may or may not know, the higher SS benefit is typically paid to remaining spouse which can create a significant "spousal boost".  And over her additional years, it can really provide some additional financial security.

Top Seven Questions To Ask Before Taking Social Security Benefits:

Is there a need for income? If not now, when?

How can I coordinate my benefit with my spouse?

Are you currently working or plan to continue working?  If so, how long?

Are you single, married, divorced, widowed, or have children under the age of 18?

Health Status & Life Expectancy

Do you have a “Non-Covered Pension” (This often applies Federal, Police, Railroad, ministers and other public employees)?

What is your current personal tax rate?