Lifetime Planner: Resources for Setting the Social Security Retirement Benefit Assumption

Scooterlam SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
Lifetime Planner:  Resources for Obtaining, Optimizing and Setting the Social Security Retirement Benefit Assumption

It's that time of year that I do a deep dive on my retirement plan in LTP and other planning tools. I put together a few resources I use for obtaining and setting my Social Security assumptions.  Perhaps others will find these resources useful.

If you have not yet filed for SS, it's a good idea to check and update your SSA earnings record and benefits yearly.  This year,  benefits for those younger than age 60 experienced an 8.89% increase in their projected benefit!  Do a "What-if" on your LTP plan to see how much this kind of increase moves the needle for you.

Obtaining SS Statement Online:

Many users know that they can obtain their personalized SS statement online through .   If not,  go there and quickly get your statement!

Reason I mention this website is that currently, Quicken Lifetime planner, in their SS dialog, only offers SSA's phone number so that users may phone them, receive a form and mail that form in only to receive their statement in 6 weeks or so. Yes for some, it's necessary.  But for most of us, by going online, users can register and download their form(s) in 6 minutes v 6 weeks.  Hopefully SSA is redirecting callers to the online resource....

In 2021, SSA has updated how they illustrate filing age vs. benefit. This new graphic makes it very easy to choose and enter your benefit and related filing age in the retirement benefits dialog.  See below image.

Optimizing SS Filing Age and Benefit:

Until Quicken implements this idea, an SS optimization feature that optimizes filing age and benefit in context of your plan,  you can quickly do a "stand alone" optimization yourself by using this free online tool: Open Social Security.  Whether single or married,   the tool optimizes filing age(s) for total lifetime benefit.  You can also test alternative strategies as well.  Take the results (filing age and benefit) and plug it into LTP's "What-if" feature to see how it plays out versus your baseline plan.   

Note that you will see some differences between LTP's plan result tables and the OSS tool, especially around survivor and spousal benefits.   The differences are a result of models and simplifying assumptions made in LTP, primarily. OSS may provide a good starting point for optimizing filing age in Lifetime planner.   Nonetheless, even without OSS, it is fairly quick to do "what-ifs" for different SS filing age combinations directly in LTP and see for your self the end of plan balance result.

Share your thoughts on this topic, resources you use!