5 Social Security Mistakes That Can Devastate Your Retirement

Recently,  I started studying for my private pilot’s license. As I’ve learned about the mechanics of skillfully piloting an airplane, I’ve also realized that there are many similarities between flying a plan and planning for retirement.

Take this as an example: when you fly long distances, making constant adjustments is not optional… it’s a requirement. If you fly just one degree off course for a short 300 mile flight, you’d miss your target by 5 miles!

Getting where you need to be, when you need to be there, requires precise navigation and constant adjustment. Planning for retirement is no different.

Mistakes made when you are close to or at the point of retirement could be irreversible. This is especially the case when you are making decisions about Social Security.

One of my most trusted mentors often tells me, “Big doors swing on little hinges.” The small decisions you make, when stretched over long periods, can have big consequences.

Here are the five 5 Social Security mistakes that can cost you dearly when you retire.

Continue Reading »

Video: Social Security Survivor Benefits

Making a video that covers Social Security Survivors benefits is a project that I’ve put off for several months. However, I went to FinCon, a financial media conference, and realized that I needed to get off of my laurels and get some of this helpful content produced. I hope you find this video useful.

I’ll put a transcript below if you want to read along.

Continue Reading »

You Can’t File for Social Security at 62 (here’s why)

filing for social security at 62

“Devin, they told me I can’t file for Social Security at 62!”

My client, Cheryl, was a little upset. She’d just returned from a trip to the Social Security office where she’d been told that she could not collect benefits as soon as she turned 62.

Cheryl did exactly what she thought she was supposed to do. Her birthday was July 3, so she went into the Social Security office in May and met with a claims representative.

The claims rep finished her filing process and told Cheryl that she should expect her first check on the second Wednesday in September.

What?!

If my client turned 62 in July, why would it take two months to get her first check?

Continue Reading »

3 Stupid Reasons to File for Early Social Security

filing early for social security

Believe it or not, there are some good reasons to file for early Social Security benefits. But those only apply in some circumstances — and more often than not, people’s reasons to file early can be downright stupid.

That sounds harsh, but this about it: we’re talking about maxing out your available retirement income so you can make the most of this stage of your life. You don’t want to make a mistake here, especially a silly one you could have easily avoided.

Still, even when I give people the information they need to know about filing appropriately for their specific situation, some people just don’t get it.

Continue Reading »

5 SMART Reasons to File for Social Security at 62

social security at 62


My new book, Social Security Basics, is available on Amazon! social security basics devin carroll


Fact or fiction: Filing for Social Security at 62 is always a bad idea.

Most of the information and “advice” you find online makes the case that delaying your filing is always the right thing to do. There’s good reason for that: filing for Social Security at 62 means taking reduced benefits.

But it’s not true that filing at 62 is always a bad idea. This decision is highly dependent on your own personal set of factors.

You may hear people say things like, “you should always wait until you’re full retirement age for file for maximum amount of benefits.” Filing later for Social Security benefits does mean maximizing income in most cases — but that doesn’t apply to every situation.

In fact, there are five specific circumstances when I think filing early makes the most sense. Here they are.

Continue Reading »

The Future of Social Security

the future of social security

If you’ve happened across some of the headlines about the future of Social Security, you may be thinking we should really be talking about the lack of a future for these benefits.

Follow the news around this topic for any amount of time, and you’ll be hit with some alarming claims. Here’s just a quick sampling:

“The entire Social Security program will be fully depleted…in 2034.”

 “There’s a 0% chance that the government will be able to honor its existing commitments.”

If these warnings have you doubting the availability of Social Security funds to supplement your retirement income, you’re not alone.

A 2016 Transamerica study found 77% of employees felt the same way. American workers reported feeling worried there would be no money left by the time they could leave the workforce and draw their benefits.

But here’s the thing: these concerns may be unfounded. Is there a legitimate reason to feel alarmed? Are the headlines overdramatic, or do they serve as legitimate warnings?

To answer these questions, you need to understand the history of the Social Security Administration and its benefit program. From there, you can make a more informed, educated prediction for what the future of Social Security will look like — and more importantly, how you can plan for that future.

Continue Reading »

The Best Age to File for Social Security

the best age to file for social security

“What’s the best age to file for Social Security?”

This is the number-one question people ask me about Social Security.

And it’s little wonder because the answer is anything but simple or straightforward. In fact, finding the right answer for you often requires a lot of complex thinking and calculating to determine exactly what you should do.

Even if you can manage to do the proper planning on your own, then you’re left with an almost-bigger challenge: feeling confident that you got to the right answer.

You can do the hard work of making your best estimate… only to spend a lot of time and energy worrying and second-guessing yourself.

“What’s the best age to file for Social Security?” is the question that trips up most people more than any other in planning for the retirement you want. So let’s get to the bottom of this, and to an answer you can use, together.

Continue Reading »

Lost Social Security Card? Here’s What You Need to Know

It’s just one little blue, fragile piece of paper — but a lost Social Security card can add up to a lot of trouble. If you your card is missing, you need to act now.

Your card lists out both your full name and Social Security number, and with these two pieces of information a thief can easily wreak havoc on your finances.

A lost Social Security card is all someone needs to open accounts, file fraudulent tax returns, get healthcare under your name, and a whole lot more. Needless to say, you should keep your card in a safe place (in other words, not your wallet) to prevent accidental loss or theft.

But we all know things happen, even with the best safeguards in place. If your card does go missing, here’s what you need to do.

Continue Reading »