Franklin Templeton says Americans are often driven by a lack of understanding and confusion surrounding Social Security, leading many to make decisions that permanently reduce their monthly income in retirement. In fact, according to the 2014 Franklin Templeton Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations Survey, nearly two-thirds of retired respondents are opting to take their Social Security benefits early, that is before “full retirement age,” defined as age 66 for those born from 1943 to 1954 and gradually increasing to 67. This has the result of substantially reducing individuals’ potential lifetime income, the firm says.
The Social Security Optimizer enhances the suite of resources already offered through Franklin Templeton’s “Income For What’s Next” program, explains Michael Doshier, head of retirement marketing for Franklin Templeton Investments.
The tool, developed by LifeYield, enables financial advisers to begin tailoring a Social Security approach to fit the nature of each client’s overall retirement situation and income plan. Once an adviser enters specific inputs from their client, the tool assesses a range of variables and produces benefit filing options that could lead to greater total lifetime benefits using certain assumptions. Advisers then have the capability to further customize the proposed strategy to align more closely with a client’s specific retirement resources and goals, Franklin Templeton says.
The Social Security Optimizer also provides actionable suggested “next steps” for the chosen Social Security benefits claiming strategy. Other key features of the tool include:
- Clear information on the month and year for filing a benefits claim based on a selected Social Security benefits strategy and certain assumptions;
- An evaluation of a client’s potential benefits claiming choices in monthly and cumulative dollar amounts, and the ability to incorporate inflation assumptions into the calculation; and
- A printable hypothetical illustration to aid advisors during client discussions.
“It is imperative that financial advisers be involved in their clients’ decisions about when to stop working and when to begin receiving the Social Security benefits for which they are eligible,” notes Gail Buckner, Franklin Templeton’s financial planning spokesperson. “These are choices that will permanently impact a client’s monthly income throughout their retirement.”
The tool can be launched here, following registration.