Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 12, 2015 - A new survey shows that a majority of U.S. citizens need help when it comes to Social Security decisions. Many people believe they are reasonably knowledgeable on the numerous options available for claiming benefits. Only one in five people rely on experts.
The findings were released on Sept. 28 by AARP and the Financial Planning Association. They jointly surveyed 1,215 future Social Security beneficiaries aged between 45 and 64, as well as 1,279 certified financial planners. The results revealed almost half of individuals are only somewhat knowledgeable about issues such as the impact of their claiming decisions on benefit amounts as they approach retirement and the earliest age they can receive benefits. Just 9 percent of those surveyed considered themselves very knowledgeable about how benefits are determined.
“There are a lot of rules to navigate, and having a thorough understanding of them can make the difference between good and bad decisions when it comes to Social Security. It can be difficult for many people to maximize the value of Social Security benefits if they are not aware of the basic facts,” said David W. Magann, a prominent attorney in Tampa, Florida, whose firm specializes in Social Security disability law.
The survey found that just one percent of financial advisors believe their clients are very knowledgeable about Social Security benefits overall, while 31 percent said their clients are somewhat knowledgeable. Financial Engines, a benefits manager, estimates the average individual retiree misses out on over $100,000 in lifetime benefits through poor Social Security choices. The average married couple leaves more than $250,000 on the table.
According to the survey, 46 percent of future beneficiaries consult family or friends for advice, just slightly higher than the 45 percent who use the Social Security Administration. The other major sources of information include newspaper articles, financial magazines or books, financial TV shows, financial advisors, AARP and employers.
“All too often, people rely on secondhand information when it comes to making Social Security decisions. To maximize the size of future benefits, it is essential to turn to reputable sources for guidance. In some cases, the decisions you make for Social Security benefits can be irrevocable,” said Magann.
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618
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