Maximizing Social Security Benefits for Married Couples

Knowing how to maximize Social Security benefits for a married couple is crucial to financial planning. Learn three ways to maximize your benefits.

Knowing how to maximize Social Security benefits for a married couple is an essential part of financial planning, especially because it can help you receive more benefits, pass along a greater amount of assets to your heirs, or reduce your taxes if you play your cards correctly. The best strategy for optimizing your Social Security benefits depends on your unique financial circumstances as a couple.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss three ways to make the most of your Social Security benefits based on your personal situation.

How To Maximize Social Security Benefits For A Married Couple: 3 Strategies

The amount of Social Security benefits received varies for each couple and depends on factors such as the earnings of each spouse during their working years, the actual income of each spouse (if applicable), and the age that each spouse decides to begin claiming their benefits.

Understanding how to maximize Social Security benefits for a married couple also depends on how much your other investments have accumulated for retirement and in what type of accounts those investments are saved.

Check out these three strategies to help you and your spouse maximize these benefits:

1. Delay both of your Social Security claims and wait for larger benefits.

The longer you and your spouse wait to claim your Social Security benefits, the greater monthly payout you’ll each receive. If you begin taking Social Security at age 62 instead of age 70 (when you must claim it), your benefits will be reduced by 25% of the amount you’d receive at your full retirement age. For example, if you’re eligible to receive $1,000 per month in Social Security at age 66, you’ll receive only $750 per month if you claim it at age 62.

Starting at your full retirement age, your Social Security benefits grow by 8% per year, so it may be best to wait until age 70 to make your claim. The longer you live, the greater the benefit you will receive from delaying your claim, so one exception to this advice is that if you’re in poor health, you may want to claim your benefits earlier.

2. Claim one spouse’s Social Security benefit early and allow the other benefit to grow.

If you and your spouse are going to significantly rely on Social Security in retirement, and one spouse is eligible for a larger benefit, consider delaying that claim to allow the benefit to continue to grow while accepting the other spouse’s smaller benefit. This will provide some protection if you outlive your life expectancy.

If Social Security is your only source of income as a retired couple, you will not have to pay tax on your benefits. However, you could end up paying taxes on 85% of your benefits if your income (which includes half of your benefits) is greater than $44,000. Speaking with a financial advisor who can consider your total financial picture and is knowledgeable about minimizing taxes in retirement is a wise move.

3. Withdraw money from your investment accounts strategically.

If you and your spouse can delay claiming Social Security benefits until age 70, you can become even more strategic with retirement and tax planning if you have investments in various accounts.

For example, you and your spouse have investments in cash or other taxable (non-retirement) accounts, investments in an individual retirement account (IRA), and Social Security benefits. In that case, we suggest considering the following approach:

  • If you retire at age 62, use your cash investments to provide income until age 70, as you won’t have to pay tax on those funds. This will allow your Social Security benefits to continue to grow.
  • Begin converting money from your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA, also until age 70. Once converted into a Roth IRA, your money will grow on a tax-free basis and will not be subject to required minimum distributions at age 72.
  • When you reach age 70, you’ll have likely exhausted your cash investments, but your Social Security Benefits have grown each year, and you have reduced your taxes and generated tax free growth. Now your Social Security benefits will be tax free because you won’t have another source of income.

Navigate Social Security With Curio Wealth

Learning how to maximize Social Security benefits for a married couple can be complex. Our team of seasoned financial advisors can help walk you and your spouse through the process, so you’ll be confident that you’re making the right decisions for you as a couple. Assessing your current financial situation and determining the best time to start claiming your Social Security benefits can also ensure you don’t pay more at tax time than necessary.

If you and your spouse are ready to start planning for your financial future, schedule a call with a Curio Wealth advisor today.

Important Disclosure: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Curio Wealth, LLC [“Curio Wealth”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Curio Wealth. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Curio Wealth is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Curio Wealth’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at Please Note: Curio Wealth does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Curio Wealth’s web site or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Please Remember: If you are a Curio Wealth client, please contact Curio Wealth, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.

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