Ida May Fuller is not a household name. But the check she received for $22.54 on January 31, 1940 was a pivotal moment in the American economy. Since she received that very first Social Security benefit check, the program has been expanded and enhanced. These changes offer today’s seniors greater flexibility, but with flexibility comes complexity.

The age at which you begin to receive Social Security benefits directly impacts the size of your monthly check. For example, if you were born in 1955, your full retirement age is 66 years and 2 months. At that age you would receive 100 percent of the social security benefit for which you are eligible. If you elect to begin receiving benefits at age 62 (the earliest you can receive benefits) then you would receive payments for an additional 50 months. However, your monthly check will be reduced to 74.2 percent of the full benefit.

You may also elect not to take your full retirement benefit at age 66 and the government continues to increase your benefit for every year that you wait up until a certain age at which increases are capped.

If it sounds complicated then you heard correctly. It is complicated! And the complexity increases when you consider that Social Security cannot be optimized alone; it must be optimized within the framework of your entire retirement portfolio.

At AssetBuilder we understand that optimization means making something as fully functional and effective as possible. So we evaluate your Social Security and all of your other income streams holistically to determine your best retirement alternatives. As we roll out our Personal Pension later this year, you will see how Social Security works within the framework to provide you with the retirement that you have imagined.