Timing Your Social Security Benefits

timing your social security benefitsThere are many factors to consider when timing your Social Security benefits. Every person’s situation is different.

If you’re thinking about early retirement and you have sufficient resources (investments, pension, and so on), you’ll have more flexibility in when you begin claiming Social Security. Your marital status, overall health, life expectancy, employment wishes and retirement goals are also key factors in timing your Social Security benefits.

Full retirement age (FRA) for Social Security is between 66 and 67 years (depending on the year you were born). Waiting until then guarantees your full monthly Social Security benefit, based on your employment history.

You can claim benefits up to five years early, though your Social Security income would be 30 percent less. Waiting to claim benefits after FRA will provide an additional 8 percent income per year, up to age 70 years.

Your Perspective advisor can help you evaluate your options and create a Social Security plan. It’s one of our Core Client Services. That’s the value of Perspective.

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To learn more about he many facets of retirement planning, click here for another article.


By |2021-06-11T16:55:20-07:00June 28th, 2021|Retirement|

Cyber Security Checkup

Curkendoll-WEBCyber attacks on government agencies and major companies around the world are on the rise. In the past several months, ransomware attacks have breached networks for Microsoft, the Irish Department of Health, U.S. Colonial Pipeline, and JBS meat processing in North America and Australia, to name just a few. After hearing such news, the idea of protecting your personal data can seem overwhelming or futile. Yet, conducting a cyber security checkup — quick a review and update of your accounts and electronic devices — can help more than you might think.

Following are some steps you can take to simplify and maintain cyber security efforts. Each only takes a few minutes to complete. It’s a worthy investment of your time. Block 15 to 20 minutes in your calendar this week to conduct a cyber security checkup.

Use antivirus software, and keep apps and software current.

Make sure you have trustworthy antivirus software installed and updated to protect your computers and mobile devices from viruses and malware. Keep software up to date with the latest patches and upgrades. Sign up for automatic updates.

Close or delete unused accounts.

The smaller your online presence, the more secure your information. Take a few minutes to close unused accounts and minimize your vulnerability. Sign up for account activity notifications to help you keep track.

Use multi-factor authentication.

Also called two-factor authentication, this requires a second credential to verify your identity. (e.g. It may require entering a code sent in real-time by text, email or phone call.)

Use screen locks on every device.

Set a password or PIN for every laptop, smartphone and tablet you own. Any lost device without a screen lock is a gateway for someone to access your email, banking and social accounts; thieves can change passwords and take control of your digital life.

Check your data-breach status.

A data-breach, or being pwned (pronounced pōned), means your personal data has been stolen and possibly sold. At haveibeenpwned.com, you can check your email addresses against lists from 120 known company breaches (i.e. Adobe, LinkedIn, Facebook, Daily Quiz). Be sure to change the password for any compromised accounts, as well as any other sites where you used the same password.

Beware of Phishing

Phishing is a malicious text or email that seems to be from a trusted source. The object is to trick you into clicking on a dangerous link or providing confidential information. Common warning signs include:

  • A message you didn’t expect or that comes from a person or service you don’t know.
  • Spelling errors or poor grammar.
  • Strange or mismatched sender addresses.
  • Mismatched links (a seemingly legitimate link sends you to an unexpected address).
  • Odd links or addresses.
  • Requests for passwords, account numbers, personal information or answers to  security questions.
  • Offers that seem too good to be true, or messages that express great urgency.
By |2021-06-11T16:34:54-07:00June 15th, 2021|Current Affairs, Cyber Security|

Cryptocurrency Risk

Mailiard-v1-WEBThe latest investment fad has arrived: cryptocurrencies. Younger, inexperienced buyers excitedly trade “cryptos” on their phones and brag about it to friends. One claims to be getting rich buying Bitcoin (the original cryptocurrency). FOMO kicks in (fear of missing out) and entices others to buy. Unfortunately, it’s rare that any fully understand what they’re doing or cryptocurrency risk.

As legendary investor Warren Buffett said, “I can say almost with certainty (it) will come to a bad ending.”

Cryptocurrency’s wide appeal is easy to understand. It’s basically digital cash that can be transferred immediately and anonymously between parties. Bitcoin trades using technology called “blockchain,” a digital ledger that is purported to be unhackable. This unique currency also isn’t bogged down by intermediaries, such as governments, banks or international currency exchanges.

Potential appeal aside, crypto trading should not be considered as investing, but rather speculation. Only those with giant appetites for risk should consider it. Stories of wild price swings abound. When the economy appeared to be collapsing due to the Coronavirus, Bitcoin fell about 65 percent – three times as much as stocks – by March 2020.

“Bitcoin is not real money now, and… without huge reforms it will never qualify as real money,” said Larry Kudlow, a noted economist formerly of CNBC and the Trump administration.

One should only risk money in cryptocurrency markets that he or she can afford to lose entirely. How many people really have “money to burn?”

In addition, the tax implications of cryptocurrency are extremely complex and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Real, long-term investing is the time-proven path we take at Perspective. We work with our clients to first develop a written plan, a road map.  From there, we build and maintain broadly-diversified portfolios in established markets backed by many decades of risk-and-return data. The result is a less volatile and more predictable portfolio.

By |2021-05-11T19:51:30-07:00May 17th, 2021|Current Affairs, Investing|

Millennials Embrace Estate Planning

The events of 2020 – a pandemic, presidential election, social unrest – led many Millennials to begin estate planning, according to analysis from Trust & Will. The company examined data from nearly 20,000 individuals aged 25 to 40 years who reported creating their estate planning documents last year. While “having a child” was the number one reason Millennials embrace estate planning (38 percent), “2020” or “The Pandemic” came in second at 17 percent.

Millennials embrace estate planning

Image by 5688709 from Pixabay

Millennials Embrace Estate Planning

What did they include in their estate plans?

  • 79 percent designated a pet guardian in their wills;
  • 38 percent completed health care documents (i.e. HIPAA authorization form, advanced directive, power of attorney);
  • 50 percent specified they want to receive “extreme” medical care only if the benefits outweigh the burdens (suggesting they place a greater importance on quality of life);
  • 26 percent opted to donate their organs;
  • 50 percent included specific directions for their funerals; and
  • 7 percent designated a portion of their estate or a specific dollar amount to charity.

Get insights on how you can help reduce anxiety with estate planning.

By |2021-04-15T12:12:01-07:00May 3rd, 2021|Uncategorized|