4 Tips to Help Female Clients Navigate Social Security

Betty Meredith, CFA, CFP®, CRC®, was home sick one day and decided to watch the Suze Orman show. One show attendee asked Orman if she should claim her social security benefits. Orman immediately answered yes.

“Even though I wasn’t feeling well I wanted to throw something at the TV,” said Meredith at the Women in Finance Knowledge Circle Summit presentation on Tuesday Sept. 13. Orman didn’t ask any relevant questions like was the woman in good health or did she had a spouse whose benefits she could claim.

“It was the worst answer,” Meredith said.

Your female clients have unique issues you’ll need to help them navigate, such as the intricacies to claiming Social Security.

Mary Beth Franklin, CFP®, contributing editor to InvestmentNews, said that there are some key things to remember when it comes to advising your female clients on Social Security:

1.) There are four potential Social Security benefits for women. You can help them navigate benefits based on their own retirement, benefits based on a spouse or ex-spouse, benefits for being a caregiving parent of a child under 16 or a child who is permanently disabled or survivor benefits for a spouse or ex-spouse.

2.) Help your clients understand that it’s a permanent deduction for them if they claim Social Ssecurity benefits early. For every year they wait, they get 8 percent more in benefits. So if they wait until age 70 to claim benefits, then they’ll see a 32 percent increase in benefits.

3.) Two claiming strategies are no longer. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 eliminated the file-and-suspend strategy and phases out the ability to file a restricted claim for spousal benefits.

4.) There must be at least 10 years before ‘I do’ and ‘I don’t’ to claim benefits for an ex-spouse. Divorced clients who want to claim spousal benefits must have been married to that person for 10 consecutive years and currently single to be able to claim benefits on an ex-spouse.


anaheadshotAna Trujillo
Associate Editor
Journal of Financial Planning
Denver, Colo.

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