The Rotary Club of Cleveland got a primer on Social Security benefits at its weekly session Tuesday.
Local financial adviser Victor Boltniew shared information designed to help people make the best decision in preparing for their future benefit payments.
“For about 65 percent of the population, Social Security is more than half of the income they get,” Boltniew said. “For many, it’s the only lifelong form of income they have that will grow.”
He said Social Security is one of the few government programs in existence “which is fixable. It is one of the few social programs we have that I think things can be done about,” Boltniew said.
He said there are over 300 different options married couples can choose from.
“For some folks, they have found over $300,000 in difference in how they choose Social Security. So it’s important when you go into the Social Security office, you be as informed as possible when making your elections,” he said.
Boltniew said many who visit him want to get their money now, “because it’s not going to be around later.”
“The question isn’t about dying early, it’s about living long. That’s when a lot of the financial problems occur — when people outlive their money,” he said.
Boltniew said one survey showed 68 percent of the respondents said they feared outliving their money more than dying.
“There is a 72 percent chance that at least one member of a 65-year-old couple will live to age 85 and a 45 percent chance a member of a couple will live up to age 90,” he said.
He said the average life expectancy for a 65-year-old woman with no heart problems is 95.
“So, you have to always consider living a long time, especially for your wife,” he said.
“Every dollar you can draw from Social Security, that’s one less dollar you can draw from your retirement,” Boltniew said. “If you plan properly, you can actually make your retirement assets last longer.”