At any given moment, across the United States, people are waking up the morning after their sixty-second birthdays, and after their morning coffee they log into the Social Security website to sign-up for their benefits. Sadly, this simple, logical action may be one of the biggest financial mistakes they make, and may cost many of these people hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetimes.

Well, it may have something to do with the fact that the official Social Security Handbook contains no less than 2,728 separate rules governing social security benefits. Let’s put it another way. In a recent book on Social Security planning published for financial professionals, over 40 percent of the book is devoted to a discussion of various Social Security strategies for couples! Many more pages are devoted to discussions of strategies that are designed for singles and non-traditional couples.

In an environment where there are 2,728 rules, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that there are many choices. One you probably already know about: deciding whether to begin collecting Social Security at age 62, and start receiving money then, or to wait perhaps to age 70 and collect more money later. But matters are much more complicated than that. Singles, couples, and “non-traditional” couples (where one spouse may be much younger or older than the other, where there is a great disparity in incomes between the spouses, etc.) all have different issues and one couple’s (or single’s) issues are not at all likely to be like another’s.

My job is to help you devise a Social Security strategy that takes your unique circumstances into account and, in combination with your other resources (savings, investments, pension, etc.), will give you the best possible retirement.

You may have received financial and retirement planning advice from a financial advisor, an insurance agent, or even a “family banker.” None of these individuals are charitable institutions – in many cases, their advice includes recommendations on the purchases of insurance policies, annuities, stocks, etc., for which they receive a commission as do I when I sell these instruments. In my own case, I found that I could not offer the best possible service to my clients without becoming an expert on Social Security, as well. Obviously, no commissions are paid on this portion of my business. It is something I choose to do to provide the best, most complete, retirement planning services I can. Like my colleagues, I am not a charitable institution, either.