4 ways to help stretch your client's retirement dollar

By Mike Needham

Automate My Agency


Do your clients know when the optimal time is to start collecting their Social Security? If they live a healthy lifestyle and have a history of longevity in their family, you should advise them to delay taking their Social Security as long as they can. Many retirees claim their Social Security much too early; in fact, about half of eligible recipients start to collect at age 62.

If they delay to 66 or even to 70, they may collect hundreds of thousands more than if they started to collect as soon as they were eligible. For most families, their pool of Social Security payments is their largest single asset. Once a person has elected a payout, he or she only has 12 months to make any changes and can only make changes once. By law, the Social Security Administration is not allowed to give financial advice, so clients need to make sure they work with a financial advisor who can look at their assets and help them determine the best strategy to claim their Social Security.

Here are four conversations I have with my clients:

Review your budget: Make sure you know where all your money is going. Are there places where you can pinch some pennies? Do you have or need two cars? Have you reviewed your insurance coverage and deductibles Do you really need a land line and a cell phone? Are you paying for cable TV and Internet when you may be able to watch the shows you want just by having Internet access? Are you still paying on your home? Have interest rates dropped since you first financed? Most people can find ways to cut back on their spending.

Watch your taxes: With proper planning, you can minimize the amount of taxes you pay. In order for this to work, you should have money in taxable, tax-deferred and tax-free accounts. Working with a professional can help you minimize the amount that Uncle Sam will take.

Use coupons: Another way to stretch your dollar is to coupon. You can use the ones that come in your newspaper or in the mail, but you can also search for coupons in Google and subscribe to receive deals from websites like Groupon and LivingSocial. Groupon and Living Social have great deals to help make eating out, recreation or travel more affordable.

Check Craigslist: I know you’re wondering about this suggestion, but there are deals to be had on Craigslist. People with large gardens or small farms many times advertise excess produce on the site at great prices, sometimes even free. My mother-in-law picked up a couple trash bags full of strawberry plants and didn’t pay anything. Another woman was thinning out her strawberry patch and just wanted to get rid of the extras, so my mother-in-law eats free strawberries every year. I hope your clients have plenty saved for retirement, but if they don’t, there are plenty of online resources to help you stretch your retirement dollar.

My wish is that these tips help make your clients' dollars go further.